Friday, August 29, 2008

Attack of the killer plants!

A refresher on the past week of my life, since I haven't written for over that long. Last Friday I climbed "La Mula" a mountain close to Ixtlan. No, not alone. A small group of us left at about 10:00 and it took about a half an hour to climb through the jungle the rainy season produced. It was super peaceful at the top and it was calming to just sit there and relax.

Here is the mountain. Intimidating, eh? We went to the top of the ridge on the left. There is a cross at the top that you can see at all in this picture. My dear family will be horrified to hear that I got really worn out at first. I don't know what my problem was, but I had to stop and rest. It was rather embarrassing. I will put your worries at ease, though, and say that I was doing fine at the top and had my normal mountain climbing vigor back.

This is the view from the top. The city is Tecamatan. You couldn't really see Ixtlan from the top. It is weird to look around up there, to see nearly 20 towns, if not more, and realize that there is only one Christian church in all of them.

The mighty cross at the top of the mountain with Spencer at the top. The view from there was spectacular. Yes, I climbed up there too. Don't tell Grandma P. (I don't have a cell phone down here or maybe I would have tried to call her.)

Here are the results of the killer plant. It didn't show up until the sunday after our climb. The really dark spots actually blistered. Whatever the plant was must have had poisonous juices. Spencer has a small spot on his arm too. We don't have a clue what plant it was, but I think it makes me look pretty tough. At Bible study today Lupita and Lupita said it looked like I got in a fight with a cat. You should see the cat...

In other news, I spent Monday through Wednesday in Guanajuato with Juan, a friend of our family from the states.

It was a crazy three days of meeting his family and friends. Eating (and making) some pretty tasty food. Meeting more family. Touring the countryside.

I also got a chance to spend time with some kids he is mentoring which was really fun. We worked mainly on reading and writing. It was a lot of fun to get to know them as well as the rest of the family. Pray for them all. There is a lot of work that God can do there in Juan's family and in his town. Sorry, no pictures. I didn't want to be a tourist...and I always forgot to take my camera with me.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cat fights and calmness

Sometimes, this would be one of those times, I know I should update the blog, but I just don't know what to write about. For instance, the cat fight just outside last night was, well unwelcome, but it probably doesn't warrant an entire blog on its own.

I we haven't had any other exciting rain storms. We nobody's come or left. Things are pretty quiet. It's nice for a change. The first couple of months had a lot of things going on. I missed the calmness that we have now. It is one of those things that I have to appreciate, because very soon it will be very busy and crazy.

English classes start in about a week and a half. That means a lot of planning. It means, we have to get the desks in, we have to get classrooms set up, we have to get the books, which still haven't come in. It's a waiting game, we know that everything will work out fine in the end. I am really looking forward to the classes and having fun with the students. I just pray that they learn what they are hoping to learn.

I realized awhile ago that I hadn't shown any new pictures of the school, and then never took the time to post about it. So here y'all go.

This is a front shot of the school on the left are the bathrooms, on the right are the offices. There are two levels to the school with three classrooms on both levels. That's six classrooms for all you who don't feel like doing math.

Here is a classroom. I didn't have a key so I had to take the picture through the window. They are pretty nice and big classrooms. They echo a lot right now, but that should get better as we get more stuff in the rooms.

This is just another view of the front of the school. It is really nice. Everything is bright and well done - thanks to all the guys that worked on it.

The back side. As you can see, the school is pretty big compared to everything else around it, but it will be a really nice building and school once everything gets going.

I guess that covers it for now. More later, as always.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vinieron aguas... (The Rain Came Down...)

Yesterday was a fine normal day. Everything went well, quiet and calm. And then we had church. Nothing terrible happened, but we had a rain delay for about a half hour.

We had finished singing and had the first prayer when it started to sprinkle. I use sprinkle lightly here, because they were some pretty big drops. You know the ones that say, "Hey, guess what! It's going to rain...really hard." So then Matt got up to start talking and it proceeded to rain and hail and get really windy. So much so, in fact, that we couldn't hear Matt. So, we all sat and waited until the storm passed. I can't guarantee that it was a half hour, but it was pretty close.

Of course, when it rains that hard, water always gets in somewhere. So there were several people walking around with mops to soak up any renegade waters. That also meant water here in the guest house, unforturnately for Spencer whose window wasn't latched. It blew open and his bed got soaked. Pobrecito Spencer.

A special thanks to our two volunteers. Bev and Anita Schlatter are here for two weeks visiting and practicing Spanish. They are neices of Marshall and Jan. Also here for a quick visit are the Troxel brothers. I haven't seen much of them, but I know that Rudy and Rosario are enjoying their presence.

Today was the last day of Inscripciones, registration, for English classes. We currently have 26 students. This is of course a far cry from the 65-70ish that we guess from our surveys, but it is probably better to have small classes since both Ruth and I are new at this teaching English as a foreign language thing. It is probably better if we are going to treat these classes as a ministry opportunity as well. We have several contacts that we believe will still be wanting to sign up as well. So the numbers will probably increase in the next couple of days.

Well, that should update all of you who weren't shocked to death when you saw that I updated again so quickly. Happy recovery!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Spencer was gettin on me today for not updating this thing. I didn't realize the last time I posted was the 6th. It's been a week already. Where do I begin.

I am sitting here listening to dogs barking, kids yelling as they play, sheep, and the distant, echoing boom of fireworks. Yes, fireworks. In the midst of all this I realize that this is one peaceful place. It is 7:35 and I am calming down for the evening. I was in the school all day doing registration. We have two days left and expect quite a few people to come sign up yet. Classes are slowly getting a little fuller. We aren't getting as many as we initially thought to come and sign up, but it might be more effective both for teaching and for outreach to have small classes.

Last night we went and played basketball with a bunch of kids from Llano. Actually, part of the group played some other games, but I played basketball. Imagine at least 15 highly energetic and excitable kids running around a small basketball court. They probably ranged from about 7 to 12. It makes for a pretty fun time. We had a lot of fun. As will happen with kids, it doesn't always go as smoothly as planned, but we made it. Pray for the kids in Llano. The come from a very rough area. They don't have a lot and their lives can change a lot if their lives are changed by God.

That's not much of an update, but at least it's something. More later.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Adios, Grant!

Grant se fue. Que triste!

I have to start this with an apology to Grant. I know you left a week ago and I should have had this posted a long time ago, but it hasn't gotten done until now. So here is you official goodbye post, Grant.

Grant was here in Ixtlan for about two months this summer and has realy helped out a lot, especially when we all up and left him for a week. He was a good guy to have around, always ready to help out, build a cabinet, or drive the vans. Of course Grant and I were roommates as well which means I now don't have anyone to wake up as I stumble out of the room in the morning anymore.

Here are several of us the night before Grant left. We also went to the plaza for aguas (no not bottled water, icy cold drinks like Horchata and Limon con chaya or something like that) as well. That was nice. Lupita, Lupita, and Issa are in front and Grant and I are in the back (yeah I meant to put Lupita twice, too)

And here is a picture of Alvaro, previously spelled Albaro (my bad Alvaro), who finally got over his fear of having a picture taken.

In other news, we are still registering. Going has been a bit slow, but I think there will be a lot more peopel next week, it's a little like Indiana here, I think everyone is waiting until the last day.

Also, as is Mexican culture, we are supposed to keep the street in front of our house swept clean. As a group of guys living together, we have been very lucky to get our house clean, let alone the street. With the help of Jason and Rebekah Stoller, who were here visiting for a couple of days, we got the street swept and carried away a five gallon bucket of street dirt. Oops, I think we let it go a little too long.

Alas, it is about three and I should get going so I can get back to the office for our afternoon reistration, but hopefully this gets you back up to date a little. I have kinda gotten a little behind.