Monday, December 27, 2010

Breaking Out the Big Guns

I had meant for this to be a holiday post.  We have had such a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Just recently three children from the same family were added to the Children's Home.  They are so sweet and so attention deprived.  Little five year old Immanuel loves getting hugs and that is an understatement.  I think seeing him get a gift at Christmas was one of my favorite things about yesterday.  I almost cried, he was so excited, he didn't even know what to think.  I'm fairly sure getting a present was a new thing for him.  I'll blog more about our festivities later.  Thank you to all who prayed for us, we have had a lovely Thanksgiving and December.

Last week we got home from the Children's Home Sunday afternoon and I felt a little tired and really pretty bad the next day.  I bounced back pretty quick, but then the kids started getting it.  It was awful, I can't remember a sickness that ALL five of the children have gotten and I can't remember anyone being sick for over 24 hours.  I have to admit we hadn't been eating super healthy, not terrible, but not great and definently more sugar and white flour than normal.  Anyway, as my case had been light, I wasn't real proactive when the first child got sick.  Plus, my herniated disc was hurting especially at night, between my back and getting up with sick kids, I wasn't on top of my game.  Christmas day, six days into it, I thought everyone was feeling better, but they had all started coughing, Haden came and sat on my lap and clearly had a fever again, and I found Hannah just sitting because she felt tired.  All of the sudden I had a moment of clarity, it was time for the big guns.

The next day I mixed up a batch of the awful, terible, no-good, get-well-recipe.  It consist of two heads of garlic (that's not bulbs, that's HEADS), a serrano pepper, and cover it with coconut oil, plus a little and blend in the blender.  Everyone took about 5 doses of one teaspoon each yesterday and 3 doses today.  Also I went to the store and bought out the produce section.

Yesterday's menu was:
Green Smoothie
Carrot, Orange, Apple, Celery, and Cucumber Juice
Homemade Chicken Broth
Apples, Watermelon, and Almonds for snacks

Today's menu was:
Green Smoothie
Large Salad, Raw Gazpacho Soup, and tamales (given to us by a friend)
Beef and veggies in clear broth (cooked in the crock pot all day) with homemade wheat rolls
Watermelon, almonds, celery, and guacamole for snacks

Hardly any coughing and no more fevers!  Hope you are staying healthy as we wrap up this year and start a new one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Have to Use the Mushrooms

The Children's Home schedule has gone something like this, we take over sometime shortly after 5:00 PM on Thursday night and stay until after church on Saturday night. For a long time it was, we took over after church on Sunday morning and stayed until shortly after 5:00 PM on Tuesday night. Numerous times we stayed a week or more out at Casa Betania. My point being, essentially we live in two different places, all in one week.  I haven't seen a children's home with house parents, so I don't know what that would look like, but I like Casa Betania's hands on approach.
However, this makes grocery shopping tricky, so even on a week when I had carefully planned, one Thursday morning I woke up and looked in the fridge. And there stared up at me two large packages of mushrooms that had not been turned into soup, plainly stating that when I returned Saturday night they would be less than prime.
This is what followed. I said to myself, "Self, you don't have a lot to do today, it won't take that long to make mushroom barley soup, then you can stick it in the freezer and it will be ready for next week." Now whose the smartie pants, thank you very much. Down came one of my favorite cook books, Soup Bowl.  This is my recipe finding process, especially when I am familiar with the recipe.  Instead of going to the index, I begin flipping through the book to find the picture of mushroom barley soup.  I know it seems counter productive, but sometimes you thumb past recipes you might not have notice otherwise and so really it is an exercise in inspiration.  So the first recipe that caught my eye was Mushroom & Sherry Soup.  I had all the ingredients, but the sherry, which I omit anyway.  Hmmm....marked page and moved on.  Next I noticed Bacon & Lentil Soup.  Hmmm....actually I need to use up that package of bacon also and I have lentils that have been waiting to be used for several weeks, marked and moved on.  The picture of the Curried Chicken Soup looked so warm and yummy and it called for turnips, which I have in the garden, all other ingredients accounted for, marked it too.  Then the Garlic and Chicken Soup jumped right out at me and reminded me I had a little bit of leftover cooked chicken and garbonzo beans, marked and moved on.  Finally I made it to the Mushroom and Barley Soup, it was at the beginning of the book and I had started at the back, who knew.
Next I photo copied all five soup recipes, laid them out on the counter and got all the ingredients, only to discover I was about 15 carrots and 5 onions short.  Not to worry, because the little tienda down the street had both and the walk felt good!  With all the ingredients laid out and a little strategical planning I began chopping, stirring, and simmering.  Three hours later I had five yummy meals stashed away in the freezer and was ready to head out the door to Casa. 
I know what your thinking, boy that was random!  That is exactly what I was thinking as I looked at my jars of soup, but whatever it was a nice day.  Well the day before Thanksgiving, my back started hurting really bad, we had guest and by evening I was glad to get into bed.  I though I was mending, but a stupid move on Sunday brought me to tears.  We had planned a trip up to the States for Sam's annual VA check up and he made sure I made it to a chiropractor, the diagnoses was a herniated disc!  If I want to get well I can't lift, bend, strain, you get the idea.  Anyway, yesterday Sam was able to pull mashed potatoes and Chicken Curry Soap out of the freezer for dinner, so even with a herniated disc, my family still ate well.  Maybe it wasn't so random after all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meme and Papa Mike's Visit...2 months later

 Papa Mike took this, I guess Heidi was ready to go home!

We, Papa Mike and I took so many pictures during their visit, and then there is this easy share option with memory sticks....zoom and all the pictures are on my computer.  I got a little overwhelmed, add to that the fact that we packed SO much into the 10 days they were here.  A lot of ministry work out at the Children's Home, a little sight seeing, time at our house and we finished it all off by heading back to Guadalajara a day early, so we could visit the zoo and spend their last night relaxing by the pool at a gorgeous little hotel with even more gorgeous views.  I slept in the next morning and when I woke and started poking around, I found Sam and his mother sitting at table on the roof enjoying the view and some conversation.  The only way it would have been any better is if Sam would have had some coffee. 
 On the drive to Guadalajara.
 Haden really enjoyed the zoo.
 We all enjoyed the time together.
 Love this one, wish I would have been able to enter it in the "one third rule" photo contest.
 These guys were gorgeous.

 We got to feed the giraffe on the safari ride!

 Views from our hotel.
 Haden getting a much needed hair cut.
 Of course we took Meme and Papa Mike to our favorite chicken taco stand.
 At the butcher getting meat for our meals out at the Children's home.
 Our sunsets are always so beautiful, it's hard to resist snapping pics of them.
 Meme and Wendi making biscuits.

 Face painting.
 Papa Mike took pictures of things we take for granted.  I love this picture.
 Balloon art!
 On our way to church.
 We did let them rest some.

 Boys helping with the bunk beds.
 Teaching the kids to juggle....yes, I'm for real!
 Three sets of complete bunks, with closets ready to be attached.

 That's Josiah!
 Last night. :(
 Saying goodbye at church.

Sam and his mom enjoying some time together on the roof top.

Meme also brought gifts for all of us, where she put everything I'll never know, I do know they went back with some empty suitcases.  She brought some beautiful yarn for me, but I think the best gifts were plush blankets for each of the kids.  She said they could curl up in their blankets when they missed her and needed a hug.  We were all very encouraged by their visit, enjoyed every minute of it and are looking forward to more visitors.  It's so exciting to be able to share with people first hand what God is doing here in Mexico.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Short Term Support Mission Trip Oppurtunity

The Means family, missionaries in Mexico, are seeking a mission hearted young lady to care for their children while mom and dad attend language training.  Duties would include caring for the children and assisting them with their home school lessons.  Duties would be from 8am to 2pm Monday through Friday and may extend to 4pm some days.  Lunch preparation would also be part of the duties.   Room and board in our home would be provided and you would be welcome to participate in our family as much or as little as you want, although we are a pretty fun family with some pretty neat kids.  The children are mature and reliable enough to stay home alone, but they are still too young to stay alone for this extended amount of time and will probably have questions they need answered for home school.  We have 5 children from ages 12 to almost 4.  Get to know us better by going to

Language school is in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the city of eternal spring.  Currently the plan is to do 3 to 4 weeks of language school and then take a week off for fun and ministry and then return for another 3 to 4 weeks of classes starting the 7th of Jan, 2011.  Commitment could be as little as one month or as much as 6 months starting in Jan.  There is the possibility of going to visit the indigenous tribes in the mountains during our off weeks, participating in a camp ministry that is very evangelical minded and there may be other ministry opportunities also.
The only requirements are a willing heart and a salvation testimony.  The ability to speak Spanish is NOT a requirement.

If you wish to speak with family, references or our pastor that can be provided.

Really Random

I need to post about Meme and Papa Mike's visit, because it was a huge blessing to us, but a lot happened and I just haven't had the time to put it into words. We have traveled a good bit this month and have changes coming, but that will have to wait also. Today I'll just leave you with random thoughts from the mission field.

Had a glitch in our Mexican school experience when the public health doctor showed up to give shots we had not be notified about. We had also neglected to tell our kids to refuse shots or anything else and just walk home if they needed to. Hannah received a shot in each arm and promptly passed out. When she came to, she was scared and crying. She's OK now and it's just a good story to tell, although she isn't really amused. "Hello!" giving shots without medical records!" None of the other children were given shots. Resisted the urge to completely come unglued, hunt down everyone involved and yell at them in whatever language can out of my month. A note has been sent regarding shots for my children. The redeeming factor is that it was hep and tetanus, which really are needed here. So everybody take a deep breath and calm down. We prayed a lot before we sent them to school and overall the experience has been excellent. The kids enjoy school. I love the way the school teaches, almost like unit studies and it is a good upfront investment for these life time missionaries.

MORE RANDOM STUFF: Found this in a journal from last year.

Josiah: God has blessed us so much at missions conferences. One time a church took all the missinary families to a bounce house. That was amazing! (In referrence to Heritage Baptist Church Waxahachie, TX Pastor Paul Shearin)

Hannah: When we went to a restaurant a pastor of a supporting church was there and he paid for our bill, that was a huge blessing" (In reference to Ozark Baptist Church, Bergman, AR Pastor Smith) Josiah: Yes, right what a missionary needed, right when he needed it.

Samuel: ...that we got to go to Colorado and see our friend Hunter and his family and the Davis family and we got to go skiing.

Josiah: God has blessed us with money....even us kids....even though we don't have an allowance.

Adelina: ...that we are at 80% of our support and we only need 20% more to be able to go down to Mexico and save souls and hopefully plant churches in every corner of the city (note *the church planting phrase was from our video the little troopers had seem about 100 times)...and that we got a bus for free to use in Mexico.

Samuel: We get to eat out at restaurants almost every Sunday and I love going to people's houses.

Adelina: At Light House Baptist Church the pastor took the men and boys out skeet shooting and the ladies out shopping. Pastor Paul Cauldwell, Springdale, AR

Samuel: In Tucson, AZ our friends the Elkins fed us almost everyday, they took us hiking and swimming and to the Sogoura Nation Forest.

Hannah: When we go to churches, we get to meet lots of people. I even met a girl my age with the same birthday as me. Some I even write letters to.

Josiah: ....that God has brought us safe this far.

Samuel: A little red car stopped in front of us in Eureka Springs, AR, we had to run off the road and around him and God kept us safe. Josiah: Yeah, and I'm glad people have been praying for us.

Hannah: The Larson's (*Reseeding America, helping local pastor establish churches and keep their doors open with BIMI, aka Samuel's favorite preacher)are so nice and that we get to see them sometimes(*Bro. Larson preached two missions conferences we attended). Josiah: Yeah, and Bro Larson is our adopted Grand Pappy.

All Kids break out sing.....God is so good....

Kids thoughts recorded 2.22.2010 on the trip from Jacksonville, NC to Rogers, AR.


Part of my Oct 6 personal journal entry said:
Read Matthew chapter 5, underlined verses 8 &; 9. Dear God, help me to honor you with my lips and my heart.

Wanted to encourage everyone to jot it down somewhere when God does something amazing for you or lays something on your heart or answers a prayer.  Practice this with your kids.  It is a testimony to go back to when you forget God is real and personal and concerned for even you.

Children bickered a bit in the back of van during 12 hour drive.  I suggest they practice the JOY system...Jesus first, Other second, Yourself last.  Samuel grins and say, "Nah, I tried that once."  That kid is too funny.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bold New Witness

" You have to watch out for those new Christians, they will ruin a good luke warm church." - (loose paraphrase)

So the quote is because of all these new Christians we have running around.  We have had several new teens come to Casa Betania in the last six months and all but the newest girl have been saved and baptized, so we have a lot of new Christians running around our house, excited about how God has redeemed them from their sin and changed their life.  Watching them made me think of this quote as God has provide opportunities for them to share their faith and they have been BOLD new creatures.

Sneak peak of our newest Prayer Letter:

" The change God has made in their lives has been so neat to see.  Luis has gone from being unsure of who Moses is, to expressing interest in the ministry, to preaching his first sermon.  He faithfully shares his faith.  He has given tracts to his teachers and his family.  During door to door tract distribution Lidia was able to share with a man who was very receptive.  When he was visited again, he was very interested, but feared his family.  They were very adamant that he not become a Christian.  Please pray for Jose Manuel.  Rubi shared her faith with the owners of the store close to the Children’s Home when they offered to use her change to pay for a prayer to a saint.  She explained that we only pray to the living God and we follow what the Bible says.  They were curious to know more, but said they had a hard time reading the Bible.  We went with Rubi and Lupita to take them an audio Bible.  Rubi and Lupita both were so excited to be sharing their faith with others.  Many of these children have families that are not Christians and are very concerned for them.  Please join them in praying for their families."

Some more on Lidia, post on the Casa Betania Facebook page by Amber:

"Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the Gospel... "Mami, guess what? I'm a preacher!" Lidia was so excited when she came home last night. She had been doing some outdoor evangelism work with a visiting missionary and had the opportunity to share her testimony with a very large crowd. Lidia came to us shortly after she escaped her abductors. Because of her lifestyle, she was taken in by a bad, bad crowd. She had to leave her family due to threats and came to live with us. She explained how that
God loved her enough to rip her away from where she was and put her in a place where she could hear the Gospel. As she said, "I'm not the person I was, I'm completely different because of Jesus!" As she left the platform she shouted, "Praise the Lord!" We're so thankful to have her as part of our family!!!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


With much prayer and feeling confident we are in God's will, we decided the children would go to Mexican school this year.  The Children's Home is located about 10 miles outside of town near a little "rancho", it is a very small school, they know us well and one of the teachers is a christian.  It is a good opportunity for the kids and us too.  After praying over the decision together as a family, we all felt at peace.  We knew it would be challenging, but we had NO idea.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around four children having 5 books each completely in Spanish.  It is 10:00 at night and I am finally done translating Samuel's reading assignment.  We read it in Spanish, then we read it in English....line by line.  I can't even describe, how overwhelmed we all are.  I almost went into full panic mode yesterday when they brought their homework home and I started to realize just what we were getting ourselves into.  I went out to hang up laundry just to calm down and pray.  Hannah came out with such a good attitude, she was trying her level best to figure out how to climb this gigantic mountain.  Such a huge encouragement and answer to pray for this mama.

I spoke with my mom, who is a school teacher, and ask what she did when she had students who did not speak English.  She basically said they usually fail the first year, but they move them on anyway and the next year they catch up and do fine.  So, we have are work cut out for us. It didn't help that Adelina and Samuel got put a grade level above what they are capable of even in English.  Hopeful we can get that cleared up tomorrow.

Haden said he cried a little at school.  I asked why.  He said, "I wish I was Wendi (his Mexican friend from the home and classmate), I want to say all those words to my teacher."  Poor little guy he feels it too. 

Hannah said to her teacher she couldn't do her homework.  He said, "Don't say you can't, say you can because you have confidence in God."

So, I guess my point is, as usual, we have gotten ourselves in a spot where only God can get us out!  So this mama is doing a lot of praying.  If you want to join me it would be really appreciated.  The reason we decide to do this is 1.) God's leading  2.) It helps everyone with Spanish  3) It helps the kids with Spanish and they want to minister to the Mexican people as much as we do and we are limited until we learn to speak Spanish. 

Pictures to follow soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

EBV a Roaring Success

Nearby horses finished off the backdrop for an awesome VBS week.  We had a cowboy theme.  LOL!

It was an EXHAUSTING 2 weeks, but EVB (VBS) was a huge success.  We went from I think around 40 kids the second night, to over 120 by the last night, Thursday.  I had lifted up a little prayer that we would have to go for extra snacks on Wednesday night and not only did we need extra snacks, but I ran home for extra craft materials and the group that can to help had to pray up some crafts for Thursday.  They were almost clean out by the end of Wednesday night.  God provided in an amazing way.  Another group that had been doing VBS in another area had some extra supplies. They visited Casa Betania Thursday and asked if their extra craft supplies were wanted! ;)

I think my favorite part was seeing one of the faithful church ladies, hermana (sister) Manuela, single handily fill up and entire van BEYOND it's capacity.  I had never seen her more joyful, and joyful is different from happy-BTW.  She was bringing her friends, family and neighbors to church!

We have had a good number of visitors, at least 10, return for regular services and can tell God is working in individual's hearts.  One is a young man named Ruben.  He speaks enough English that Sam has been able to speak with him on several occasions about Salvation and gave him a clear presentation yesterday.  He has been here in Jerez, visiting family for the summer and returned to Augascalientes for school today.  We are hoping to stay in contact with him and are making efforts to help him find a church that will continue to minister to him. 

Recently Sam was able to preach with an interpreter, but is working hard on writing out a sermon he can preach on his own.  One of the young men at Casa, Juan Adan, did the interpreting with no advanced notice.  He and Sam stepped aside and prayed together.  He took it very serious and did and excellent job, his love for Christ and growing maturity showed through very brightly.  He is a quieter fellow and does not seek attention, so standing before a congregation and helping Sam proclaim truth was something God did through him. 

Families arriving by foot from a nearby neighborhood and closing out VBS with the theme song one last time.  You will notice Luis greeting them.  Lidia, Lupita and Karine must have sung that song over hundred times as they ministered in music class all week.  They never once complained.  Check out Casa Betania's facebook page for more pictures.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

EBV (VBS) Ministry Update

Vacation Bible School is in full swing this week.  Please pray with us.  We blanketed over 800 homes last week. The rain slowed us a little, but Saturday we went in the rain! The kiddos at the home went with us and we knocked everyone of those doors.  They did an outstanding job representing Casa Betania, the church and most importantly God.  We have had a good many visitors come, so that is exciting.

 Steve Benedict concluding the evening by giving an illustration of how Jesus Christ is the only way, with Luis' help.  Sam has plans to drive the neighborhoods on a four wheeler with a loud speaker tonight, so pray we have so many come we have to run to the store for extra snacks!