Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Journal of our Move to Tapachula, MX

CAUTION: Read at your own leisure...this is a very lengthy post!

Thank the Lord for safety and traveling protection on our recent move to Mexico!

We left the Rio Grande Valley, TX on Jan. 14th. Our truck was loaded inside and on top and we were pulling an overloaded trailer! We stopped at the TX/MX border to pay duty on a few items, and then we were on our way. We had no problems with our papers and visas at any of the checkpoints.

We decided to make a quick stop for gas about 1-1/2 hrs. down the road. We got our gas, then pulled around to another spot and parked the truck so we could do potty breaks and let the dog out to exercise her legs. When we were finally ready to leave, the truck would not start! Oops! We had forgotten that this same thing had happened the week before and we forgot to have it looked at. Seeing as my husband nor I are experienced mechanics, these problems could make for an interesting trip! But, the Lord already had people lined up to help us. We no sooner got the hood open, then an American and two Mexicans drove up beside us and offered to help. Whew! It was decided that a clamp on our battery was loose and so they drove a screw down in to help hold everything together until we got to Tapachula. On our way again, we had no more troubles. We spent the night at a very nice hotel near Tampico.

We left the next morning prepared for a not too stressful day. All the roads we traveled seemed to be two-lanes and we were always following semi's or rv's who were just creeping along. The roads were also a little curvy and hilly, and therefore not good for passing! Needless to say, this part of the trip was taking forever and we were not sure if we would make it to our planned stopping place.

It was nearing dusk when we started on the bypasses around Veracruz. We made a turn, and heard a thud, thud, thud.......our back, right, truck tire was flat! Oh no! We got out and was assessing the situation, when once again, God already had a helper in place! We were pulled off the road in front of a propane gas station, and one of the men there came out and volunteered his services in changing the tire. He tried to jack up the truck, but it kept sliding off. We tried his co-workers jack, same problem. We had WAY too much weight in the truck. It was decided that Michael would ride with the co-worker 5 minutes down the road to fetch a tire mechanic while I stayed in the truck with the kids. They returned with the tire mechanic and some better tools, and the tire was changed in no time at all. The next problem, we had to take the tire mechanic back to his shop, but there was no room for all of us in the truck. So, what's the best solution? We're still not sure, but this is what we decided to do. Michael takes the truck and kids to return the tire mechanic, while I stay along the side of the road with the trailer and the dog. Oh, did I mention it was dark already? Yeah, it was a "wonderful" moment in my life! Some of my fears were that someone would stop and I would have to try to talk in my limited Spanish or that Michael (who's not good at directions) would get lost trying to find where he left me! Thank the Lord nothing happened, but I was starting to get concerned after waiting almost an hour and Michael still wasn't back! He finally returned, and we decided to call it a night at a hotel down the road that had been recommended to us by the mechanics. The hotel was not the greatest thing one ever stayed at, and we were feeling a little unsure as to how secure our truck and trailer were going to be out by the road...but we didn't know of another quick solution, so we just had to trust God.

After a not so restful night, we were up real early in the morning hoping to make up some time. After a slight delay trying to find an ATM machine to get money out for the rest of the trip, we kept on trucking. Halfway through the day, our truck started making noises...then the check engine light came on...then our truck's braking system lights came on. Superficially, we couldn't see anything wrong, so we just kept on driving, and praying that our dear, overloaded, truck and trailer would make it the whole way! It did...and we pulled into our new home early in the evening! Our new "Home Sweet Home" never looked so good!

We know many of you were praying for us along the journey although you may not have known all the details at the time...Thank You! Your prayers helped us to make it safely to Tapachula to begin our new ministry. We are forever grateful to you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Highlights from Michael's Trip to Tapachula, MX

Early Wednesday morning, Dec. 9th, found Michael along with Jonathan Springer, John Dykes, and Rogelio (an RGBI Hispanic student) traveling south 30 hours to Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico. Their mission: 1) to pick up our furniture that was being stored in Salamanca, 2) to find and begin renting a house for us to live in, and 3) meet with the believers and contacts in both Santo Domingo and Tapachula.

The mode of transportation was Jonathan Springer's truck with our trailer attached. The picture below has the beautiful volcanic mountain of Orizaba in the background.
"Welcome to Tapachula"
Remember the small town of "Santo Domingo" that we have mentioned? Our plans have been slightly changed in that we will not be living in this town, but will still be working at planting and developing a church there. During this trip, Michael was able to visit our contacts in Santo Domingo and at the same time, Hery Santiago and many of the H.I.M. pastors from Guatemala and one pastor from Mexico were able to commence for a meeting and services in Santo Domingo. Michael was presented a Bible in the service from Bro. Hery and the pastors on behalf of H.I.M. for his completion of language school. Michael also had the privilege to speak.

Tapachula: The city where we'll be living and starting another brand new church. We have three main contacts and their families who will be helping us in this endeavor. The three men have all attended and been members at the H.I.M. church in West Palm Beach, FL when they worked in the States. They are solid Christians and will be a great asset to us.

Below: The first church service of the "Iglesia Evangelica de Santidad de Tapachula". We will be holding services in this semi-enclosed "building". The lady in blue (below) runs a restaurant here during the week, and we will be holding church services here on Sundays.
Michael preaching.
A group photo. Kyle is really excited about meeting and getting to know some new friends. He'll be speaking Spanish better than his mother in no time!! And his mother will need extra prayer as she will mostly likely be teaching a Sunday School in Spanish...yikes! Thank goodness children are very forgiving...!

...And the men were successful in finding a decent house for us to live in. It is located in a very nice and safe neighborhood. We will have a backyard that is totally enclosed so the boys will be able to run and play to their hearts content. As with most rental houses in Mexico, there are always some minor details we will have to work through upon our arrival (making sure the gas lines are hooked up properly for the stove and water heater, checking how the water system works with the pumps and cisterns, painting, having the phone/internet get hooked up, installing light fixtures, fixing anything that needs fixing, and finding a place to put all of our food and kitchen items in the limited cabinet space...etc...).
And these lovely creatures will be our "neighborhood sentinels!!!" (Unfortunately, I can see my youngest son trying to make friends with one...) =)
And so, these are the highlights from Michael's trip. Right now, we are in Texas finishing our packing and seeing to last minute details. Lord willing, Thursday is the day we will head south as a family. After almost 2 years of language studies, we are excited to finally begin our ministry in Southern Mexico and to plant churches and disciple new believers!

We will appreciate your prayers for us for traveling protection (it will take us 3 days to get there) and as we acclimate ourselves to a new culture and begin our ministry work.