Sunday, July 8, 2012

Final Trip Journal Entry: "And That Was Worth the TRIP!"

TUESDAY: June 26th

Excuse the blur.  I'm stuck with the point and shoot until my camera that was stolen during our trip to the US is replaced.  Insurance is covering the replacement cost, it's just a matter of getting it ordered.

And so we come to the final day of our trip....kind of...I'll explain this later.  Thank you for sharing in our adventure.  The Means family has many more adventures ahead.

So, we are full time missionaries, which means we live down here full time.  It's our home, so this little adventure is not typical of what we do.  In fact it is the first time we have done anything like this.  We have some unspoken philosophies about ministering.  We believe it is best to make sure what you do is Christ focused and is going to have lasting results, eternal results.  This usually involves a long term commitment to the people and the place.  However, this trip was all God's leading.  We knew for this one week, this is what God would have us do and God just went before us in amazing ways.  We still weren't sure exactly how everything was going to work out, even as we went to sleep Monday night with all the bags of food packaged and ready to hand out.

Tuesday morning Sam got up early to read his Bible and then cooked breakfast.  The kids got up and got  ready one at a time, waking to the patter of a lite rain.  As Haden and I got ready, one of the children came to tell me people were arriving!  The only mototaxi driver in town had worked with Lilian to identify families in need.  He made a round to tell the ones able and close enough there was some relief food available.  Then He, pastor Jevial and Sam package up some "despences" to take up to families that really, really needed them and had no means of coming to get them.  I am so very sorry we have no pictures.  This is the first time we have done anything like this and we didn't realize until later we should have designated someone to take pictures, but then again my children were enjoying the process so much, there is no way I could have ask one of them to do it and with Sam and I split up, I needed to take change.  So, while Sam went out with the mototaxi, the kids and I stayed right there at Lilian's and handed out the rest of the food and items.  We were able to hand out beans, rice, vegetables, chicken, sugar, animal cookies for the kids, toothpaste and tooth brushes (which were a big hit) all with gospel tracts.  We were able to briefly tell the people "Jesus loves you", "God bless you" and "we are praying for you and your town".  After everything was handed out and we sat down for a late breakfast together, Hannah excitedly exclaimed, "that was worth the trip!"  All the kids had a bit of a hard time knowing there was much more need and that the supplies had run out.  All in all we were able to help at least 75 families, some with only one member and some with 9!  After breakfast Sam went up with the mototaxi man to hand out some tarps to about 6 houses they had identified.  It's not a permanent solution, but they were good quality and will keep them dry as it is still raining daily there.  After spending the morning aiding our efforts the mototaxi would not take any money for his services, that was a huge donation on his part.  While Sam was gone one of the families came back with a gift!  A sea turtle hand carved from a coconut shell.  I told her it would be a reminder to pray for Pluma Hidalgo.  Below are the few pictures we took.  :)

Arms full!  We will remember bags if we do this again.

Lena giving small bags of cookies to the kids.

Please note the smiles.  :)

With Lilian and Pastor Javiel

So to sum things up:
What an amazing trip God allowed us to go on!  Thank you so much to everyone who gave towards beans and rice and the other things we were able to take along.  I wish you could have been there to see the faces of those you gave to help.  Besides providing a little help for Pluma Hidalgo, we were also able to encourage and help a local pastor and his church in Pochutla and strengthen a new believer in Pluma Hidalgo.
After dropping pastor Javiel back at his house we headed to Puerto Escondido to drop out some supplies to a doula friend there.  By the time we drove the hour over I was not feeling very good.  We began looking for a hotel room, by the time we found a room and were sitting on the beach letting the kids play, I realized I had a fever.  It only got very much worse from there.  Sam and I both spent a miserable night with high fever and intense stomach cramps.  Sam met an American chiropractor the next morning, who gave him the name of a doctor.  I was given three kinds of medication and 1/2 liter of IV fluid right there in his office!  By Thursday with the help of anti nausea medicine we were able to get home, rest and recover.  For those wondering that's what your garden variety food poisoning does and it's actually the first time we've had it in the two years we've been here.  Thankfully the kids were healthy as horses the whole time.

Linking up this Monday morning. A Mama's Story has a fabulous give away this week. Go check it out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trip Journal: June 25th


I know it seems to be a reoccuring theme for this trip, but Monday we didn't get going as soon as we had hoped. It had been several days of traveling and ministering and some of us had been sleeping on the floor and such. Plus, the pastor and his family wanted to send us off with a good pancake breakfast. When we finally got on the road there were a few stops we had to make. The main one was filling our propane tank so we could cook food up in Pluma if the need or opportunity arose. This stop helped us determine which route we would take up to Pluma.

As the morning turned to afternoon and we began climbing the winding, mountian road, it began to rain again. At first it was light, but very soon became quite heavy. There were a few small mud slides covering no more than one lane, but all seemed passable. Plus we met some other missionaries along the way and they had just been able to pass through. About ten minutes later traffic had come to a complete stand still. Pastor Javiel and Sam went to investigate and this is what they saw, which must have happened only moments before. What you can't see is the 150 foot drop off to the left!

We had a little adventure trying to get across. Once we got stuck and had to regroup and try again. Sam and the pastor helped a few vehicles across and then it was our turn again!

We had learned from other missionaries that if we arrived too late we should stay the night because the roads would be too dangerous at night. Now we had a really good reason to believe them, so when we arrived in Pluma the first thing we did was check out the two hotels in town. They were of course completely full due to many of the homes still not being livable. However one of the owners pointed us in the direction of a lady in town who houses students. (Side note: In some of the village towns even elementary and high school students have to leave their villages during the week and stay in a larger village in order to attend school.) We were warmly greeted by the owner after we explained why were there and she had room for us.

As it turns out God had lead us to the house of the sister of a Baptist pastor, who pastored a church several hours away in Salina Cruz. The last time pastor Javiel had spoken with him he had ask pray for his family in Pluma that were still unsaved. As I prepared food for everyone and fed the kids, Sam and the pastor where able to get their Bibles out and talk at length with Lilian. After some discussion it was discovered that because of her brother's testimony, Lilian had recently accepted Christ as her Savior. However, because there were no churches in town and no other Christians that she knew of, she was feeling quite discouraged. If our Savior would make a special trip to meet a woman by a well, of course he can direct our steps with divine appointments also!

Before bed we all spent some time dividing up the big bags of rice, beans, sugar, and vegetables we had brought to distribute the next day. Each bag has a gospel tract in the bottom. The government had come a few days before and distributed metal sheeting to begin repairs on many of the houses and had also distributed some food, but Lilian knew of some families that were not able to make it in where the help was being distributed. These are the families we would be able to minister to the following day. We talked about preparing a hot meal with the chicken and vegetables, but Lilian explianed it would be a blessing for the families to be able to prepare it in their houses the way they liked it. Again, I know it is hard to image, but chicken is not something a lot of these folks get very often, especially after a hurricane has disrupted things so much. She assured us they would have a means of cooking, even if it was an open camp fire.

 It was fun to listen to the concerns of my children, wondering how everything was going to work out the next day. What a great experience for them. I truely believe one of the keys to helping your missionary children is to help them feel involved, to help them make it their ministry too.

The road as we are just approaching Pluma.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Trip Journal: June 24th


Because the church had sustained so much damage, services were being held at the pastor's house.  A curtain was put up to cover the small kitchen and preparations were made to have children's classes outside. 

I was teaching the creation story.  They were very surprised to hear that where I come from there are no coconut, papaya, mango, lemon or banana trees.  Some of them looked as if they did not believe me.  Also, I stopped after the 7th day, when God rested, but one of the students filled us in about the first sin...too funny.  They were such a good class.

We told them we had brought chicken, vegetables and rice to prepare a meal for the church.  The chicken had stretched our budget a little and there was the logistics of trying to keep it all frozen, but I think it was the biggest blessings to everyone, so I'm so glad we were able to do it.  The pastor's wife was so excited, she asked if we could do mole and rice instead of chicken soup.  I, of course, was more than willing, but have no idea how to make mole.  She was happy to make it and it was really delish.  If anyone comes and visits we will be make sure you get to try some.  It has nothing to do with grasshoppers, I promise. 

What a wonderful fellowship we had after church and then we all worked on dividing up the large bags of beans and rice.  This was used to encourage the church folks and was brought to some of the more needy in the area.  It's alway great to have someone local with you who nows the needs of the community.  Although it wasn't much, the gesture that others were thinking of them and praying for them seemed to be a blessing to all.  Sam and I had the added blessing of being able to teach and preach.  I taught and Sam preached of course.  We barely had time to clean up before it was time to head about an hour out to the village of Coyula for the evening.   Where even more blessings awaited.

Despite being close enough to the ocean to see it from some of the higher points in town, this village had not been greatly affected by the hurricane.  We had some time before church to spend with one of the church families.  We chatted on the front porch and drank the Coke they offered, (some of you who know me well will chuckle) while the children played in the hammock and explored the yard.  
Of special interest to all was the coconut trees.  The coconuts looked so yummy and ripe and how hard could it be to climb a coconut tree.  Son number two, of course, had to try and came to report he had gotten at least 10 feet into the air and felt sure without his shoes on it would be easy.  We all came to watch AND LAUGH (A LOT), because it’s actually quite hard to climb a coconut tree.  My husband, Mr. Missionary, thought he would try with a strap from the van and got a whopping 2 feet off the ground!  

Second attempt without the strap was a little better. 

Thought this might be of some interest to both home schoolers and grandparents.  The grandparents can note the cute kid, the home schoolers the coconut beginning to spout.

They may have thought we were crazy Americans, but we were fun crazy Americans and very entertaining.  One of the men went down the road a bit and bought some coconuts as a rewards for our efforts.  He also brought along the town professional tree climber to show us all how it is done.  We all had another good laugh over how easy he made it look.  They were even so generous as to give us the coconuts he cut down.

It was such an encouragement to my children to be so warmly received.  Sam was given the privilege of preaching the evening service and of course, there was excitement in the air about the trip up to Pluma in the morning.

Don't you love my kids brand of ministering!  It's called playing and it's good for all the little hearts involved!

I'll leave you with one last picture.  See if you can find the iguanas.  They actually make tacos out of them, although we didn't get to try any iguana.....maybe next time.


This Sunday the church in Pochutla was able to meet in their church building due to some "lonas" or canvas tarps we were able to provide.  Praise the Lord!