Saturday, December 18, 2010

We'll be home for Christmas...

First of all, we would like to begin a running tally of Christmas cards/pictures that we have received here in Mexico.  So far we are at 2!!!   Now, this information is not, in no way at all, to make you feel like you should send us a Christmas card.  Don't feel pressured to send us a card.  (By the way our address is 5 de Mayo 2-b; Ixtlan, Michoacan, Mexico CP 59280.)  It is rather to keep everyone posted on the time that it takes for Christmas cards to arrive.  Generally snail mail takes about 2-4 weeks to arrive.

You may be wondering what the weather is like right now here in Ixtlan.  You hear of Mexico and think of hot sunny beaches with deep blue water as far as the eye can see.  A warm breeze blowing in from the water.  The sound of waves crashing on the shore and random vendors walking by selling anything from hammocks to homemade Tamarind Pulp Candy.  Life is relaxing, warm and perfect.  Well, that is not where we live.  While it is sunny, there isn't much else in common with the aforementioned description of Mexico.  While that place exists, it isn't Ixtlan.  My hands are really pretty cold right now.  It is 11:16 and I still have my sweatshirt on.  The temperature in the morning when the sun comes up is generally between 35-45 degrees (that would be Fahrenheit, not Celsius).  So, that means mornings are generally spent trying to keep warm.  As the day progresses the sweatshirts come off and a T-shirt suffices, however, as soon as the sun begins to set, the cold comes back.  We do have nice clear, cloudless days.  In that case it is beautiful, but the cold remains.  (Remember that the altitude here is about 5000 feet, and because of that we have more cold weather than they do along the oceans.)  

Sometime Bev will have to update you on the differences between here and the US, like the roosters, donkeys, and dogs.  Or there are the bands that like to walk through the streets early in the morning.  Anyway it is all fun stuff. 

We will be coming home on Wednesday (the 22nd) for Christmas.  It will go quickly, but we hope to see as many of you as we can during the time that we are home (22nd - 9th).   Until then have a great week!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The I SPY Challenge

I promised I SPY for this weeks blog.  I hope no one  got their hopes up too high.  This results from a certain aspect of Mexican life in which there is no problem throwing trash wherever it might land.  While there is an ongoing attempt to teach people not to litter, there hasn't been a lot of progress made.  The result: lots of trash, pretty much everywhere (and I do mean that quite literally).  It's sad really and it makes me appreciate just how clean roadsides, streets, and towns really are.  So anyway, I took this picture at the top, yes the top, of the mountain that we hiked last week with Christy Stoller.  After an hour and five minutes of grueling hiking, we reached the top and a beautiful view, that isn't to say there wasn't other stuff waiting for guessed, trash.

So, here is your I SPY challenge:

Using the picture below, list as many items as you can.  (A helpful hint.  Clicking the picture will open it in a larger form.)

This picture really doesn't do justice to the amount of trash that you can actually find down here.  We may just have to continue doing I SPY challenges as we come across more trash.  Then you will really see the amount of trash that there sometimes is down here.

For those of you wondering about the hike.  This is about the only 'trail' that we are aware of in the area.  It actually gets you up pretty high and to a really beautiful view.  The hike is strenuous, but it is always well worth it when you reach the top and it is so beautiful and peaceful.  The mountain is called 'La Mula' and is next to the town Tecamatan.  It is about 25 minutes from Ixtlan.  If you are climbing at a normal pace it takes about 1.5 hours.  We did it a lot faster last Saturday, but the time at the top was, as usual, very relaxing. 

Here we are at the top.  The picture is looking out across the valley.  Ixtlan would be way off to the right so you can't see it here, but you get an idea of what the valley is like.  There is a river that runs through the valley and because of that, the farmers in the valley can double crop or raise strawberries (during the dry season).

Here is just a landscape view.  There is a large, 20 foot cross at the top of the mountain.  You can climb up the cross and get this view over the brush and trees.  It was a little hazy so it turned out to be Mexico's own version of the Smokey Mountains.  Farmers like to burn the dead crops off their fields after harvest down here so there is a lot of haze right now.  It made for a nice picture though.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Ahh, food...The main thing that I have to worry about getting done each day. (My days are obviously not too busy here yet!)  Although I, Regg speaking here, am enjoying the fruits of the extra time...cookies with coffee in them?!  Two of the best things in the world combined in one...YES!!!  Oh, and there is lots, lots more.

This is our option in Ixtlan of where we COULD get our meat.....but, big surprise, we choose not to.  We get most of our staples, like sugar, flour, eggs, bread, milk, etc. here in Ixtlan.  The market here has lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is pretty nice.  Meat, on the other hand, is purchased in Zamora at either Wal-Mart or Aurrera, which is like a Wal-Mart.  We get most of our packaged groceries there.  We usually go about once every week or two.  It's certainly been interesting trying to cook following some American recipes.  I bet people don't realize that EVERY (ok, maybe not every, but close to it) recipe calls for mushroom soup and/or mushrooms, which I really don't like.  So no problem, just substitute cream of chicken soup, right?  Wrong. Yes, you can get cream of chicken, but guess what it has in it.....yep, mushrooms.  So, thanks to a wonderful friend who sent me a recipe, I now make my own cream of chicken soup.  There are several other foods that we can't get here, like crescent rolls, Velveeta cheese, Bisquick... But I've learned that recipes do turn out (how they're supposed to....?), even if you substitute for a lot of the ingredients!  I've actually substituted ingredients to make a different substitute!!  Most of the ingredients that we can't get here, are just products that are more convenience items, so it's back to cooking from scratch for most of it.  It keeps life interesting!! (at least mine)

Check in next week for: 

I SPY (The Trash Version)

Sunday, November 28, 2010


So, it appears that some of you didn't get the idea of the whole 'parade' thing here in Mexico.  You seemed to get the idea that there would be a need for...what were they called, pageant waves?  Well, I hate to spoil it for you but 'pageant waves' are not part of the Mexican parade, at least not these parades.  

The parades consist of between 20 and 25 different schools, ranging from kindergarten to high school, marching through the streets.  In this case, we started in the plaza and marched to one side of the town, turned around and marched to the other side of town, and then marched back to the plaza.  Now, I am not real great with distances, especially when walking and keeping an eye on the kids at the same time, but the kids marched probably about a mile or more.  We went to the plaza at 9:00, stood around and then had a little ceremony.  This lasted until about 10:00 when we started marching.  We then paraded through the town until about 12:00.  The kids were utterly exhausted.  This was a conversation I had with one of them about half the way through the parade.

Bryan: How much further do we have to go?
Regg: We're going to walk to the other side of town and then back to the plaza.
Bryan: Oh...
Regg: Are you going to make it?
Bryan: No.

Well, Bryan (yes that is his name) did make it to the end and did very well even though he wasn't too sure of himself.  So, you wanted some pictures and we've got them.  Check them out.

Lizbeth, Tea, and Nazaret are all ready to go.  All the kids, except those who were in the 'escolta' (the group that goes with the flag), came dressed as revolutionaries.  They all looked really good and the girls were really cute. Notice that Tea, the one in the middle, has a gun (yes, it's fake) strapped to her back. 

Here are some of the boys.  Most of them had on the tan/white outfits of the revolutionaries, but Brandon was dressed as Porfirio Diaz who was the president toppled in the Mexican Revolution. His mustache fell off part way through the parade.

Here are the kids in their marching formation.  This isn't actually in the parade.  I was too busy helping during the parade to get many pictures, but this is what they looked like marching down the street.  There in front you can see the 'escolta' with the flag.

Here are our faithful leaders, Angel and Sofia, who carried our school banner through the whole parade.  They did great and it is always interesting to see the reaction of the people as we go through the streets.  Oh, and the confetti is always nice too.  I'm just glad we don't live on a street where we have to sweep it up. 

Now, some of you requested Bev's perspective on things, so I will let her finish up...

*Because of certain circumstances beyond my control, I will have to interview Bev about life in Ixtlan... so...

Regg:  Bev, tell all the super-cool readers out there what the best thing about Ixtlan is.
Bev: That it's warm here most of the time and that you're here (referring to me, Regg)
Regg:  Well, that's comforting.  Second question, what is one thing that you would change about Ixtlan if it were possible?
Bev: Running water all the time.
Regg: Well, we have always had water and it has always run.  Can you clarify?
Bev: Water that comes out of the faucet when you turn it on and that allows you to take a decent shower. 
Regg:  I think what you are trying to say is that it is nice when you don't have to worry about running out of water in the tinaco (small water tank on the roof) because the water from the city is off, right?
Bev: Exactly
Regg:  So, I think we can understand how you feel about the lack of city water issue.  Tell us about Thanksgiving.  Did you do anything special?
Bev: We ate a normal Thanksgiving feast with the other Americans (Matt and Ruth Gerber and their son Caleb) at Marshall's and Jan's.  (She says she ate too much)
Regg: So, in your opinion, what is the strangest thing about living in Ixtlan?
Bev: Having people walk in and out of your house at random times of the day.
Regg: Why don't you explain that to our faithful readers.
Bev: Well, we're still living in the guest house and it's not officially our house, so people still come looking for different things that are kept here.
Regg:  Okay, well, thank you for your time.  I really, really enjoyed talking to you tonight.  Any last words before we sign off?
Bev: I miss everyone and hope everyone is doing well.
Regg:  I miss everyone too.  But we are thankful that we can be back for Christmas.  Thanks, everyone, for checking in with us and be sure to stop by again soon. 
Bev: And don't be afraid to leave a comment!! (I might be putting words in her mouth, but you get the idea.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

One week later...

Last week, we mentioned the pending arrival of Loren Schrenk and company.   Well, they arrived safely last Saturday and spent the week here meeting with potential patients and then doing operations.  They were able to do operations on 10 people on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Nine of them were cataract surgeries and one was something else which I could barely pronounce, let alone remember and spell.  Loren's work here has been a great testimony to the community and we are grateful for his help. 

The group that came down with Loren consisted of Loren and Betsy Schrenk, Mike and Sherice Reinhard and their 7 month old son Caleb, and Shari Henderson (a nurse that works with Loren in St, Louis).  Betsy, Sharice and Shari helped in the surgeries (they are all nurses) and Mike helped drive people to and from Zamora for surgeries and watched Caleb while Sharice was helping Loren.  While it is a great week, it also throws the schedule way off.  We enjoyed the fellowship and the good food a lot but are ready to get back in the swing of things next week. 

The group leaves tomorrow, just missing the great parade for the Mexican Día de la Revolución (Day of the Revolution).  At 9:00 tomorrow morning we will be in the plaza with all the kids from school and will march through the town.  It should be an interesting day (not that I - Regg- particularly enjoy it, but I don't get much choice being a teacher).  Providing Regg survives the festivities (mostly confetti) we will be able to get back into normal life next week and look forward to Thanksgiving. 

Thanks to everyone who commented!  We didn't know there were so many blog stalkers.  I know there are still more out there, but it does help motivate us to continue on with the whole blogging thing.  Feel free to ask us any questions about what is happening down here as well.  We will try to answer them in our posts.  So, keep it up.  We love hearing from you (and, yes, we did check the comments at least once a day last week).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Day, Another Week

We are praising God for His grace and love showered down on us, that we can be called His children and that He has united our lives together to serve and live for Him.  Thank you to all who have prayed and are still praying for us.  God is faithful and our prayers don't fall on deaf ears, our lives are evidence of that. 

It is hard to believe that another week has gone by.  We have been here in Ixtlan now for two weeks.  After the wedding we spent a week in Zihuatanejo and then arrived here on Saturday October 30th.  The past two weeks have been spent mostly adjusting to life here in Ixtlan.  Thankfully, I (Regg) had the next Monday and Tuesday off, so without having to teach, we were able to spend the days getting the groceries that we needed and settling in at the guest house (referred to here as Bethesda).  We will be living in Bethesda through the end of the year and then moving into the house that we will be renting.  Thankfully, there is a large city, Zamora, located just a half an hour from Ixtlan where we are able to purchase a lot of our groceries.  Although we still can't find a lot of basic foods and ingredients that are so common in the states, we are able to find enough to fudge our way through most recipes (maybe I shouldn't be talking about 'us' cooking - I may like to cook, but Bev is the one doing the work.)

Having settled in a little, we are about to have our first guests here in Bethesda since we were married.  Loren and Betsy Schrenk will be arriving tomorrow (Saturday) for an eye clinic.   Loren does consultations on Monday and the 12-13 eye surgeries on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  It is a busy week, as we have to take all the patients to Zamora for surgeries.   The surgeries are usually for cataracts, but sometimes vary.  The elevation here in Ixtlan is a little over 5,000 feet, so the sun is a little harder on the eyes than the flat Midwest.  It will be different having more people in the house (there will be a total of 6 extras), but the fellowship is always great.  We will give you an update about the clinic and the week next Friday (We hope!!).  The clinic has been an enormous blessing for the church here in Ixtlan as it has softened hearts to its presence and to the Truth.  We pray that each person that comes for the clinic feels the love of Christ. 

As a final note:

We love comments!  We know that it isn't always easy to post a comment, but we would love to know if you are reading our blog.  It helps to keep us motivated to continue.  So, feel free to comment (even if you just want to say 'Hello').  We hope that we can keep you better updated here.  It may be a long way from here to Indiana and Ohio, but God is faithful and the miles seem fewer when His Spirit is with us. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Much to our great pleasure, we had baptisms here in Ixtlan this weekend. 

Three people were baptized.  Javier and Veronica have been connected with the church for about 6 years now.  They both come from very difficult pasts, but their lives now show the might power with which God saves.  It was great to hear their testimonies of how God has pulled them out of darkness in to His marvelous light.  We pray for their two children Axel and Betel as well.  We pray that we will see them grow and become strong members of the church as well. 

Laura was also baptized.  She is from Veracruz originally and has also lived in Oregon.  She has been able to be real witness to her family and we have been privileged to have her dad, Max, and her brother, Adan, here with us for a couple of weeks.  It is great to get to know them and to share with them about the hope that we have in Christ.

It was a great weekend.  It was very busy with a lot of visitors and a lot to do, but it was a great time.  I am exhausted now and trying to get back into the swing of things before I come home again next Tuesday.   Time flies and yet trickles past.  School is challenging by good.  A classroom full of 5-6 year olds is definitely interesting.  They are slowly learning, but I am waiting for the books to come in so that we can really get started.  They should be here soon and then I will be good to go. 

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.  Satan knows that he is losing ground in Ixtlan and we can feel and see his work.  We know that God is greater and stronger.  He has proven that many times over, but pray for wisdom and grace to follow God even when the going gets tough.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So, what's the story?

There are lots of people out there wanting to meet Bev, but seeing as we are almost 2000 miles apart, you will all have to be satisfied with the picture until a later date.

Simply writing a blog post will never tell the entire story of Bev and I (and seeing how this post is really all about the picture, you will get this small summary, which I do realize is about the same as what you got last time).  Quite frankly, I'm not even going to try.  But I know there are people out there who are curious about how God brought the two of us together. 

Basically, I will start by saying that it is really interesting to see now how God has brought the two of us together.  He has melded our interests and our passions.  He has workedn in our lives and in our hearts to increase our faith and our trust in Him and His provision.  That part of the story entails all of our lives.  It hasn't been only a matter of a few moments.  But the story goes back two years to when Bev and I met the first time.  She and her sister, Anita, came down to Mexico to visit her aunt and uncle (Marshall and Jan Heinold) who I work with.  She was just preparing to begin her first year teaching Spanish.  In the next two years, Bev came back to visit Marshall and Jan twice more.  During that time I was able to get to know her more and to see her depth of character and faith which helped me to trust that God would bless our marriage and that he will lead us in His service as the years pass.  The rest is, as they say, history.

The future holds a lot of unknowns.  But we do know that the wedding will be October 24th in Junction Ohio.  We will be living in Ixtlan, but I don't know where yet.  The house hunting is beginning.  We still need your prayers as there is so much going on right now.  However, I am thankful for a great (short) weekend up in Indiana/Ohio when we could see a lot of family, but, moreso, have some time together.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


So, even though it's been several weeks and much has happened, I will skip to the big news. 


Yep, it is true and chances are you have already heard.  I am engaged to Bev Schlatter.  God is good and has worked mightily and lovingly in our lives to bring us here to this point.  I first met Bev in Mexico two years ago and God has used those two years to help us grow and to bring us to this point where we, trusting in His leading, can joyfully move forward. 

I'm sorry to say that I cannot offer you a picture now as I am here (Mexico) and she is there (Ohio), but I will post one soon for all those who are waiting to see who she is.  I will also try to post a little more later, but better yet, I will be home on Thursday.  So, I will be able to see some of you over the short weekend.

We appreciate your prayers in the next months as there will be a lot of changes and difficulties, but with God we have abundant grace and we rest in that.  Thanks you all so much!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rain or shine... Escuelita must go on. 

That has been the way of things this year.  Last year Escuelita fell during an abnormal and long dry spell during the summer.  This year, it is falling on one of the wettest times of the year.  So, that has forced us to make some otherwise unwanted sacrifices here.  Namely going door to door handing out invitation in the rain. 

Now understand, I don't mean torrential downpour, but rain none-the-less.  Sunday it rained for an hour during the singing and by about 7:00 was only drizzling, so we went out in the vans to hand out invitations.  Problem was that we came to a street that was closed because it was flooded and we had to go out walking in the rain anyway.  Oh well, it is worth the opportunity to reach out to the kids here.

Today was the first day of Escuelita.  Praise God, it all went very smoothly.  We had just over 250 kids for our first day.  That number usually grows throughout the week.  Thankfully the kids behaved wonderfully today. 

Keep praying for the week.  Pray the we can have dry weather, at least for the hours during Escuelita.  Pray for the teachers.  Pray for the kids.  Pray even for the parents that might be touched by what their kids learn. 
Finally praise God that He has even given us a chance to have Escuelita here in Ixtlan and has allowed us to join with Him in proclaiming His awesome name to the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home again

So, after a two and a half week hiatus, I am back in Mexico.  I had a great time with friend and family back in the states and am now gearing up for the next few weeks. 

First on the plate here is VBS, also known as Escuelita.  This is a week-long opportunity for the church to reach out to the kids of our communities and show them God's love.  It will be a challenging week filled with all kinds of activity and work, but it is always worth it.  Pray for the organization that remains.  Between 250 and 300 kids will be here each day.  That means we need to be really prepared for everything.  Secondly, pray for the teachers.  We need lots of patience and wisdom.  It is often very difficult to control and manage the classes.  We know, however, that this is God's work.  Finally, pray for the kids.  It is really all about them.  Pray that their hearts would be soft and ready for God's word to penetrate and that maybe in the course of a week, we can build up relationships with some of them that will bring them back for more throughout the year. 

The theme this year is Joseph.  It is an exciting story the connects drastically to the life of Jesus.  We hope that every day we can point the kids more and more to Jesus and what He has done for us.

The second thing that is happening is the start of adult English classes.  Monday the 2nd of August is the first day of the classes.  It will be here fast with VBS next week.  I have a lot of prep to do yet, but I am hoping that it can start well.  I don't know how many people are going to be showing up.  There are always several who came in the first couple of weeks of class that still want to enter, so who knows how many will actually be in the class.  Hopefully we will have a good class. 

In other news.  My luggage still hasn't arrived.  It was late at the airport, so they were going to deliver it to be yesterday, but it turns out there are two Consistoriales #22 addresses in Ixtlan and they never found me.  So, hopefully it will be here around noon today.  We'll see.

Monday, June 7, 2010


To all who are faithful in checking this blog and to all who gave up weeks or even months ago.  My apologies.  Turns out that I am really not very good with keeping up the blog.

Here is an update for the last month or month and a half:

April ended with a bang.  The eye clinic and the wedding.  There was lots going on and everyone was busy.  Since then things have slowed down considerably.  May was the month of finishing up my afternoon and evening English classes and catching up on all the other stuff going on right now.  So, now it's June and I have about a month before I come home to visit.  I know the real reason that everyone checks this site is the random chance that there will be a picture.  So here you go.

First: This was a first for me. A mango/avacado sandwich with cilantro.  Sounds strange and possible disgusting, but actually quite tasty.

Here are some pictures from the school...

Here are the kids messing around taking a picture.  It's really neat to see how they have connected throughout the year and get along so well now.
Jose Carlos with Armando and Mauricio in the background on Dia del Nino.  Jose Carlos and Mauricio are brothers and their family rents out these trampolines, so they were lucky enough to get this one for the celebrations.
Leslie and Litzy with Milagros in the background.  The three girls.  Also on Dia del Nino.  Matt had the bright idea to involve water balloons on this day.  The purpose was to toss them back and forth with towels, but I think most of them ended being thrown at me.  hmmmm. 

The school year ends on July 9th, but I am coming home on the 2nd of July.  Ben Stoller will be spending some time here this summer and I am going to talk him into being my substitute for the las week.  He doesn't know that yet though.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone then and getting a lot of work done between now and then.

Keep praying for the church here in Ixtlan as well as Barra Vieja, Morelia, and Queretaro.  Also, keep praying for the school.  We already have 10 students enrolled for next year's first grade class and expect to fill up to the 15 student limit by the time school starts in August.  Hopefully our second grade (this years class) class will fill up too. Next year we will have both first and second grade and will continue to add a grade each year. 

Anyway.  I'll be in touch later.

Monday, April 26, 2010

So much for that New Year's Resolution

Yeah, every week didn't happen at all.  So you will get a big update at once here and I'll see what kinds of pictures I can find.

Grant and company:

Grant Hermann came to visit with his brother Greg and his Grandpa Marvin Leman.  They spent about a week here and helped with several different things.  Grant has spent two summers here helping out, and came to visit over his spring break.  It was nice to have the visitors around and someone else to drive.  Thanks, Grant, for all the driving you did while here.  We like to take advantage of those who know the routes when they visit.

Jeff and Barra: 

Jeff came down at the end of March and we went and spent a week in Barra Vieja.  It was a great time to enjoy some hot weather, the ocean, and the church members there in Barra.  It's hard to explain everything that goes on there in Barra.  We did studies several of the afternoons we were there and we also spent time with other people in the community that we, or other people, have met.  The weather was beautiful and we even saw some pretty interesting animals around the house this time.  Julie Beer and Elise Maller were able to spend a couple of days in Ixltan as well right when we got back.  It was great to catch up with them and have them be able to see where I live. 
Here is a frog that was camping out in the yard.  It was about the size of my hand.
This big old lizard came around the first day but then never came back.  I think it didn't like Jeff sticking the broom in its face. 
Here are a bunch of fish that Esteban caught when he took us fishing.  Jeff and I weren't so lucky.  We aren't yet experts in using a net to fish. 
Here is a picture of Marco gettting Coconuts down from the tree.  He has a really sharp knife attached to the end of that pole.  They fall really hard too.  You have to watch out.

Loren's Eye Clinic:

Loren Shrenk came down from the 10th to the 11th of April for an eye clinic.  He did 14 operations this time.  Since Loren and Betsy come down more often with Julie Heorr, it is a lot of fun to spend time with them again and to see them.  I always enjoy a bunch of good food and time to sit around and talke while they are around.  Praise God that the eye clinic went well.  Pray that all the glory goes to God and Him alone.  Pray also that those hearts would be softened to the gospel.


Yeah, we had a wedding in Ixtlan.  Jonathan Aupperle and Berenice Navarro were married this weekend.  It was a great weekend.  Mike and Deb Leman arrived on Wednesday, so I was able to spend some time with them before the Magdalena crew arrived.  All the Secondaria kids, middle school kids, came down for the wedding along with several of the teachers, Bill and Joan, and some staff.  Todd Stoller, the three middle school kids, and Ben Shick stayed here at the guest house with me.  We had a blast getting to know each other.  Saturday was full of keeping the kids, all the boys and girls, entertained with breakfast and a trip to the Geyser.  Now everyone has left and peace once again reigns in this house but it is really quiet. 

I have to say.  It is sad that I don't have more pictures, especially from this weekend, maybe I can get someone to send me some to post later. 

Keep praying.  We need the prayers and appreciate them so much.  I think visitor season is officially ending now.  It will be nice to get back into my routine, but it will be very quiet.  Pray for us as we get back to normal.  Pray that new opportunities would open up here, and that we would be able to serve and glorify God effectively here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Visitor season begins...

Thank you to Angie for being true to her word when she said she would keep me accountable for posting.

I keep meaning to write something, enough stuff has happened, but when it comes time to sit down to do it, I think of something else to do...hmm. So here I sit being properly held to my word and needing to blog.

So in the month of Febuary we recieved over 6 inches of rain, a complete mystery to Mexico as it isn't supposed to rain until the end of May, maybe. It was the middle of June last year. Anyway, it stopped raining in time for Jodi and I to climb a mountain two weeks ago. We had a great time as I found out how out of shape I am. It was great to get away and have some brother/sister time on the trail. Takes me back to those Colorado day hikes we used to take. Anyway, here is a picture that Jodi and I took at the top. If it looks familiar, it is because I took it from her blog. Thanks, Jodi.

So, the Saturday that Jodi and I climbed the mountain, a group of guys came for a visit. Evan Schmidgall, Jaylin Taibel, and Colin Knapp spent about a week here and on Monday we climbed the same mountain, La Mula, again. I found that I was in much better shape and the climb went much better. It was great to have some time with a group of brothers since we don't get groups like that very often down here.

Here is another picture of us, triumphant at the top of the mountain.

It was a fast week full of good fellowship and lots of tacos.

The school year is passing fast, but it is exciting to see how far we have come in what seems like so few months. The kids are now reading and adding and behaving so much better. They have grow so much in these months. They love being together even come to play together when the parents have to come for meetings. It is exciting to see all that growth. The other day at recess they were running around singing "He decidido seguir a Cristo" (I have decided to follow Jesus) and it made me smile. I can't wait to see them after 6 years. They all have so much potential for growth and understanding. Keep praying for the kids. Litz, Landon, Leslie Daniela, Milagros, Jose Carlos, Mauricio, Juan Diego, and Armando. Keep praying for the families. Pray that they will be touched by the truth of who Jesus is and what He did for us. Pray for the teachers and staff. Pray that we will always show the love of God and Christ in our actions and teaching.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sunny South?????

So, it may be the south, but this week hasn't been so sunny. If you have been following Jodi's blog, you already know this. I think I could probably count the hours since Sunday night sometime (I really don't know when I was asleep, I think) through Thursday at about 2:30 when water wasn't falling from the sky on one hand.

Marshall, the official recorder for rain accumulation, reported over five inches of rain. I know that isn't the biggest amount of rain ever recorded for a day span, but you really have to take into consideration that the average rain accumulation for the month of February is bordering on nothing (Marshall said less than a half inch, but I don't think we got a drop in February last year). It was just plain weird to get that much rain in February. Now we have farmers trying to pump water out of the fields and the river appears to have almost gone over its banks. On top of the rain, it has been COLD. Marshall recorded 41 this morning. REALLY COLD when you don't have a heater. It makes me anxious for the hot May and June days to come when I will be wishing for just an hour of this kind of cold weather. NOT that I am complaining. I am surviving just fine and am just thankful that God has brought me here in life, thankful to be a part of the church here in Ixtlan. If I have to be a little cold for a week, so be it.

We did go to the geyser on Monday. It was a nice opportunity to get out and do something different. We even had a couple of hours (probably the only hours since then when it wasn't raining) to play some volleyball, but then it started raining a lot. (See below) We had fresh made tortillas and some good Mexican food. That is always a plus. I made the guacamole. Everyone graciously ate it, even if I didn't put enough chiles in it. Oh, well. Check out some of the action.

Claudia and Elsa preparing the masa for tortillas.

Rudy and Maria trying to get the fire going. It's hard when everything is just a tad bit damp.

Rudy and I enjoying a little bit of guisado. Yum, yum.

And then the rain came...and kept coming...and kept coming.

The group. Charming, aren't we.

Thanks for your prayers that have been offered. Keep them coming. The community here in Ixtlan and the country of Mexico needs your prayers. Mexico is waiting for a return to the truth of Jesus Christ and prayer is the most powerful tool we have to partner with God to help that change come about. Beg to the Father for the souls and hearts of the Mexican people.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


When you are part of a small church, things like babies make a big difference. Not only are services a little more disrupted, in a good way, but it puts a new hope for the future in the church. Especially when the babies are all boys.

Since August, four boys have been born in the Ixtlan Church.

Esteban is the son of Efrain and Ana. They also have two other children David and Liliana.

Caleb is the son of Matt and Ruth. He is their first child and has been keeping them super busy (and tired).

Andres is the son of Javier and Rosi. He is their second child. Sarahi is his older sister.

Alejandro Isai is the son of Alejandro and Rosa. He is bringing them special joy as they lost their first child in childbirth.

Pray for these boys and all the kids of the church. Pray that they would grow up to be stong leaders of the church and that they would be firmly grounded in the word of God. Pray for the Spirit's work to keep them from the evil of the world and that they can grow like Samuel, "in favor with both the Lord and men."

Also, in other news. Tomorrow is an official holiday. We are going to the geiser for volleyball and to eat. Hopefully I will remember my camera and be able to post some.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back into the grind

I am officially back into the grind. All the English classes are again up and running and things feel a little more normal. I wonder sometimes how I ever get things done. If I'm not busy doing one thing, I'm doing something else. Yet I have decided something. I really need to do a better job posting. I really need to keep you better updated about what is going on here. So, I am going to do better.

Notice: I am going to do better, NOT I am going to try to do better. Two different things. That being said, on to other things.

I will start with an update about the Americans here in Ixtlan.

Marshall and Jan have just completed their 15th year ministering to the people of Ixtlan. They came down all those years ago to a small two bedroom house with kitchen/living room (that doubled as the church) and a porch. Since then the church as grown and matured. They have seen the construction of the church, the guest house and the school. More importantly they have seen the conversion of hearts.

Caleb Alan Gerber just celebrated one month. He is growing and healthy. I say he's a happy boy. His parents might say different. He is keeping Matt and Ruth busy, but they are very happy to be parents. Matt is a minister here in Ixtlan, along with Marshall. Matt is also the Administrator of the school and he teaches the values class every morning in school.

I continue teaching English. I have four classes and it takes some time to prepare and teach each class and also takes a large chunk out of my afternoon since none of my classes start before noon. I also help with church activities and take part in several studies.

The work here in Ixtlan is a thing of perserverence, but it is much more a thing of hope. Mexico is waiting for a revival. The people are searching and soon they will be found. I invite all of you to lift up the people of Mexico in prayer to God, the only One who can find and save His people. Pray that God's Church would shine brightly in the darkness of Mexico. Pray for huge things. Pray that Mexico comes to Christ.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

Saturday, January 9, 2010

There are times in life...

There are times in life when one has to eat his own words. They usually don't taste very good either. There is typically a bitter taste that goes along with them.

I am now in this situation. For all my ridicule of Warsaw Community Schools for their MANY canceled days of school, I now stand ridiculed myself. School was officially cancelled on Thursday and Friday because of, yes I'm really going to say it, the cold.

For what it's worth it didn't hardly get out of the 50's both days and was probably in the lower 40's through the night. While I always enjoy and appreciate days off, there is something almost embarrasing for me, a Hoosier, to accept the fact that school was cancelled for 50 degree weather.

So, you can all pray that we don't get sick down here, we don't have heat and it is cold in the morning. Pray that we can get a good start on the rest of the school year on Monday.

Also, congrats to Matt and Ruth. Caleb Alan Gerber was born December 22. Pray for Caleb's healthy growth and for Matt and Ruth as they begin this new stage of their life with much less sleep.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year

I know it is a few days late, but better late than never.

I returned last night from Indiana and am settling in again for another round of teaching and God's service. It was great to see many of you during the holidays, but it s good to be home again. As I try to return to the normalcy of everyday life, I ask that you continue to pray for Ixtlan and the many things happening here.

Pray for the church. Pray for its growth and unity. Pray that in each day of this year the believers here can grow in their relationship with God and with each other. Pray that the church family here would be a blazing light to the community here.

Pray for the school and the work that has been started there. Pray for the opportunities that we have to transform the lives of not only the kids, but also their families. Pray that the truth of the word sticks in their hearts and that each one can eventually come to understand the love of God completely.

Pray for me and the others here (Marshall and Jan, Matt and Ruth). Pray that we stay strong in the word and in prayer. Pray that we have the endurance to power on when things get difficult. Pray for our unity and relationships with each other. Pray for our willingness to follow the will and direction of God regarding the work that He is doing here in Ixtlan.

Thank you for all the support and the encouragement as the time goes by.