Thursday, March 30, 2017

Austin's Cast

Austin got his cast! And even cooler, it is camouflage :)

After we were done, Dad let Austin's doctor choose a pen from the one's he's made.

Now for some fun with the crutches...


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pacto de Pureza

A few months ago we had a special youth meeting in Mexico City for the young people within the area. It is always a hassle going through Mexico City. We dread it with fear and trembling. The police there are awful and so corrupt. We have to be so careful, and make sure we follow every rule, make sure we are doing everything right. Because it is such a huge city, only certain cars can drive on certain days. Whenever we have to go to Mexico, we have to look at the last digit of the license plate number and match it up to the circulation calendar to see if our car is allowed.

Well...apparently they updated calendars without our knowledge. On our way to Pastor Isai's church, we got stopped FOUR times. The police did NOT want to let us go. The first one said they were going to have to take the car, we'd have to pay a chunk of money to get it back...blah blah blah. So nerve-wracking. I hate driving through that city. 

We were running short on time and the first policeman wouldn't let us go so I called up ahead to let my grandpa and the other group know that we were behind them. Turns out they were stopped as well! This story has a happy ending - Abner gave me his uncle's number who is a police officer. I called him and he said to pass the phone to the police officer. After a short conversation, the officer that had pulled us over let us go.

 This happened three more times. It was so so so frustrating - my stomach was in knots! The police situation there is just so stressful. You are basically at their mercy.
Thank God for Abner's uncle. Seriously. I don't think we wouldn't made it out alive without him. Later on the uncle told us that the first officer did NOT want to let us go without a little "tip". He was telling Abner's uncle on the line, "C'mon, these Americans never travel without money!" Ugh! How infuriating!

Anyways -
We finally arrived. We were so frazzled - lol! I felt like I needed to lay down in a quiet room for just a few minutes. Gaaaa! But we walked into church, right to the front where they'd saved us seats (oh, yay!) And we got into the service! 

The theme and purpose of this day was to talk about purity. There were two sessions in the morning and then a general service at night. Dad taught both morning sessions and Abner preached the night service.

Dad did so so good! The classes were so needed, so timely!

Between sessions, there were some fun things for the youth planned. We did a couple games and took pictures with these funny hats and eye gear.
As you can see, this happened before Nicole's grand departure :)

Montse and Nicole

After the two morning sessions, the young people were given a chance to sign what was called the "Pacto de Pureza" - a purity pact. When I was younger, my youth group did a Worth the Wait class. We translated what was written on my Worth the Wait ribbon and had these certificates made. 
This was a really special moment. 

There was a general service that night which Abner preached. 
He preached really well and we had a good service!

We had such a good time with the other young people. I wish we could do this more often - but next time not in Mexico City - ha! I'm still recovering from that traumatizing trip into the city :D


Friday, March 24, 2017

January Conference 2017

In January we had our New Year's conference. I think this is the conference that I've ever had the most fun at - for reasons I will explain further on down. It was the best! Missionary Brent Schreckhise and Pastor Harlan Morgan came down to preach for us and we had a wonderful time.
Bro. Schreckhise did such a wonderful job, our people just adored him!!! He made us laugh and cry. We were actually literally truly sad, sad, sad to see him go. We wished he could stay longer and preach many more services for us! He also sang each day before he preached and we so enjoyed that! 

He taught us some Honduran Spanish that our people still use even now. Our favorite is "chancho" - pig! We don't use that word here and it is funny to us!

We were so happy to have Bro. Morgan with us as well! His son was supposed to accompany him, but got sick the day before they were to fly out. 
Bro. Morgan sang "It's My Desire" the first night of the conference and asked me to play for him on the spot. We sing this song in Spanish so that was fine, but we don't sing the verses, which I found out in the middle of the song! ("Oh wow! This song has verses!" *panic*) Also, I thought the verse was the chorus and the chorus was the verse. So when Bro. Morgan gave me the sign for the chorus, I went into the verse. I am sorry if I totally butchered that song. 
Later on I asked him if he played and he replied something about "plunking around between three chords." I never know whether or not to believe our American guests - how to know when someone is being modest?? My mom later told me that Bro. Morgan is really good on the piano. 
Whoops. Kind of embarrassing. :)

One night he preached "The Truth Will Make You Free". Another night, he talked about different stories in the Bible and the reactions of different people to the Word of God. How will you respond?
Another message he preached was "Oh, What a Saviour!" He gave testimonies of miracles and wonders that God has done in his life and the lives of others. He was building our faith! It was awesome! Oh, que Salvador!!

As soon as I see a camera pointed at me in church, I don't know what to do. Pretend to be lost in worship? Squeeze a tear out of the corner of my eye? Since it was my Grampa taking the picture, I decided to just smile - to his chagrin. LOL.
Sis. Gloria getting blessed
Michelle seeking the Holy Ghost
Violeta really getting involved in the altar service and praying for the first time

The ministers - Pastor Isai Garcia from Mexico City, Bro. Juan, Pastor Cortez in Puebla, Missionary Schreckhise from Honduras, Pastor Morgan from Louisiana, Bro. David Garcia, Bro. Valentin, Bro. Mario Garcia, Evangelista Interranchional Abner Garcia, Bro. Baltazar, Elder Wakefield, and Pastor Pablo in Cuautla
During this conference, there was some extra fun going on behind the scenes. I'd been living on my own for a month at this point since Nicole had already moved to Idaho. Nicole and I are opposites - she is more the quiet, go-to-bed-at-9-sharp kind of girl. I love being around people and the idea of having a houseful of girls to cook for and stay up all night chatting with caused me extreme excitement. After having all this alone time, I was ready to completely drown myself in cooking, girl-talk, late nights, and laughter. These girls made my New Year by agreeing to stay at my house for the three days of our conference.

Dinner after church

Montse was looking at the pictures I have on the refrigerator and just oohed and ahhed over the one of Nicole and I in the snow. "You look so cute and snuggly! I just want to pinch your cheeks!" She said we had to do a reenactment so I twisted her hair up into a bun and gave her my glasses.

Aftewards, we made it into a collage and sent it to Nicole. 
Pretty good! :D

I love these sweet young ladies and had such a fun time with them over the days of the conference! We had good church, but also great fellowship before and after each service!

Soledad (from Veracruz) had stayed with a family in our church so she could attend the conference. The day after it ended, we went over for lunch and to see how she was doing. She is so funny! Her back was hurting so I started massaging her shoulders. We got to talking about her hair and why it is purple. She says her hair stylist told her to use a certain shampoo for white hair. I think she's not rinsing it out too well - lol! I've told her this before, and to only use it once a week, but I think she feels like a little mermaid with her special hair color. LOL.

A mermaid-esque do for Sis. Soledad.

And that was our conference! Good, fun, Holy Ghost-filled days. I'm looking forward to the next one!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Zacatlan de las Manzanas 2016

At the beginning of each school year, we go to Zacatlan for a sort of home school get-together. Homeschooling is not a very popular movement here in Mexico, but it is getting there. We use a curriculum written by a lady here in Mexico. It is a Christian program and all online. It was designed to be done in the home - homeschooling - but not everyone has internet in their homes here and in my church only a handful of parents have even graduated from middle school and are therefore not capable of teaching their own children at home. We are a part of a group of about 900 students throughout the country of Mexico doing this program. The meeting we attend each year in Zacatlan is always super informative and inspiring. We always leave with renewed vision and new ideas.

They have different speakers that speak on different topics. One speaker showed actual pages from the textbooks being used in the public schools starting in preschool and kindergarten! This is scary stuff! I won't translate everything, but you can get an idea of what is being taught in the schools down here. It might be the same way in the US, I am not sure.
Sexual diversity and "you can choose your gender"

In past years we've tried to get as many parents to come as possible, but this coming school year we've decided to make this event mandatory for the parents of our students! It is so eye-opening and if anyone is on the fence about whether or not to get their kid out of the public school system, this meeting will convince them. It really helps parents see that they don't have to do what everyone else in Mexico is doing, and help them see what our goal is for their children, education-wise.

Back when there were two teachers in this school... :(

It's become our tradition to eat lunch at this market during break. It's down the street a few blocks from the homeschool meeting place.

There are tons of tiny little individual kitchens set up and when you walk in ladies start yelling at you to come sit and their table. They yell out what they've made and what is on the menu for that day.

If I remember correctly, I got Pipian rojo with chicken, rice, and haba soup (translated: broad bean? Never heard of it.)
After lunch we went back to the event for the next sessions. I was watching Grampa in the front-view camera of my phone and taking pictures of him. I love the following progression:
Losing the battle
Lost the battle
The mouth is falling open
Realizing the mouth fell open
"This is too much. Gotta leave."

He went to go sleep in the car. Lol!
There were actually parts that did get a little boring. Thankfully, I have my ever faithful Mexican jumping beans to keep me entertained in the lull.

I waited so long to get this post up that in a few months we'll be going to Zacatlan again for the next home-schoolers event! It's crazy, but there are only a couple more months left in this school year. Yeah!! We are truckin' along... :)


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