What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney


Here at Mexico Missions, Inc., Saturday is Bible study and meal serving day in the little village of Victoria.  Eight of us from the mission and ten friends we pick up at the church, make the hour and a half drive on highways, back roads, and dirt lanes.  Along the way, we have to slow down again and again for "topes"-- speed bumps, more like speed hills.  Topes are serious business--hit them at more than about 2 kph, and you just left the bottom of your car on the road.  Sizeable pot holes also dot the roadways, providing an equally significant jolt.  We've named those "epot"--tope spelled backwards.

"The back side of nowhere" aptly describes this remote little village of Victoria.  Once here, we unload the vans into the municipal building we'll use for the day--in fact, a jail.  I'm thinking there must not be much crime here, because the building is empty.  Odd.

The couple of the guys drive the van over to the next village and gather up the children and their mothers who regularly attend the Bible study.  A few men come, about four or five, but mostly it is some twenty women and forty children, eager to study God's Word and eat a hot meal.

While we wait, Abby endeavors to befriend a couple of pathetic looking dogs.  They are gentle and friendly, just starved.  She sits on the basketball court attempting to coax out her favorite, a female she's dubbed "Bandita", because she sports a black mask across her eyes.  She's saved ten left-over hot dogs from our cook-out the other night and brought them along just for her four-legged friends.  Bandita eventually approaches cautiously and retrieves the hotdog that has been thrown to her.  She's unfamiliar with human compassion.   Normally, the village children throw rocks at her and laugh.  Abby is teaching them to be kind to her saying, "Ella es mi perrita de los sábados!" She's my little Saturday dog.

Meet X-ray, so named because you can count all his ribs.  He comes right over to us and wags his tail, hoping for a handout.  He's in luck today; none of the bigger dogs will steal his lunch.  Abby, champion of the underdog, will see to that.

The villagers who live right here in Victoria begin to walk over, some carrying their babies in their arms.  Once all are gathered, the singing begins.  I recognize some of the songs from our church in the States; they're just translated versions of "Lord, I Lift Your Name On High" and others.  Some, I'm unable to identify, but they are beautiful just the same.  Hearing these people sing to our Lord from their hearts, even in a language I struggle to understand, is like a taste of heaven.  I make a joyful noise, reading from the song book and doing my best not to massacre the words.  Abby and Jonathan belt it out, full-tilt.  They both speak Spanish really well and can join right in with the singing and all the conversation.

Now the groups are divided up.  Devora will lead the ladies, who stay in the building with their tiny children.   The men sit in a van for their lesson lead by Jorge.  On the porch, a table is set up for the girls and Susie.

Jonathan takes the older boys out under a shady tree. Their lesson is out of John chapter 4, about the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus, believes in Him,  tells her whole village about Him, and they all come to believe.  Appropriate.

During the Bible study, those of us with nothing else to do take "baby duty. " Basically, that means we relieve the mamas of their wee, tiny ones so they can focus on the lesson.  Some of the babies come to us willingly, others are more cautious.  A couple protest loudly.  These young mamas,  many with several small children, need a break from child care.  Understanding that it is probably very difficult to focus on the teaching and also manage their babies, we are happy to oblige!

Meanwhile, Ricardo heads up the food preparation.  He cooked this morning before ever leaving the mission.  On the menu today--hot dog tacos.  I know; I didn't believe it either--diced hot dogs in a tomato sauce, served on corn tortillas.  Wouldn't be my first choice, but it was surprisingly tasty on an empty stomach, and to these folks, very much appreciated, I'm sure.

Stomachs full, the little children run around and play while Jonathan, Brad, Hannah, and Tom start a game of soccer with the older boys.  Later, the local villagers begin to walk home and the others from up the road are transported back to their village in the van.  The rest of us enjoy the down time, relaxing, and swapping stories.  I understand a lot of what is being said, but I don't try to say much myself.

Finally, we pile in the vehicles for the bumpy ride home.  It doesn't take long to realize that our Tahoe isn't going to make it back.  We turn off the AC and roll down the windows, hoping that will help.  Jerking and knocking, it finally "gives up the ghost."  The guys rig up the van and tow us for a few miles on the dusty back roads.  Windows rolled down as far as they will go, it is still hot, and the exhaust from the van is coming in the car.  Just when I'm wondering how I can stand breathing in the fumes any longer, we pull off the road.  We're at the highway now and find a cell phone signal.  We can't tow the Tahoe on the highway lest the "federales" give us a ticket.

The love birds quickly procure snacks from a corner grocery stand, Jonathan plops down to read, I "find a potty" behind a rock wall, and the rest stand around while Ricardo tracks down a towing company willing to come out and assist us.  We leave Ricardo and Jonathan with the Tahoe and the rest of us pile into the van for the last hour or so of the ride home.

After dropping our friends off at the church, Brad is left to drive us back to the mission.  Thinking about this does not impart the most comforting vibe.  I've come to the astonishing conclusion that road rules are non-existent in Mexico, much like in China.  Whoever drives fastest, has the largest vehicle, and is most aggressive wins.  You're pretty much taking your life in your hands when you get in the car.  And there are no seat belt laws for passengers, which I find hugely ironic.

Thank the Lord, we arrive home no worse for the wear.  Jonathan and Ricardo make it home about 10:30 PM, a good five hours after we do. All in all, it was an exciting day.  I've learned that visiting missionaries requires a spirit of adventure and a sense of humor, both of which we needed in large doses today!


She Said "Yes!"


Tonight, a couple thousand miles from home, our son Bradley and his girlfriend Hannah became engaged on the beach in Cancun, Mexico!

Brad had put the plan in place a few weeks ago, and all of us were in on the surprise proposal except, obviously, Hannah.  He planned the timing to coincide with the sunset on the beach.  Mostly cloudy all day, the weather looked hopelessly uncooperative for a gorgeous sky, and I worried that it might even rain tonight.  Brad, however, never lost faith.  The sky began to clear a little bit around five o'clock.   And by 7PM, making quite a dapper twosome, they went back out to walk on the beach before dinner.

Just as they were leaving, the sky came alive with vibrant color!   Love was in the air, the question was popped, and she said "Yes!" Those of us who have watched this love story unfold never had any doubt as to what her response would be! 

Hannah was led to believe that this evening was about Abby and Jonathan's first anniversary.  And it was.  Sort of.  Mostly though, it was a great set-up to get her all dressed up with some place to go and have her completely oblivious to the REAL surprise, a beautiful diamond ring!


The Bling-Bling

Brad, before you were born, I prayed "Hannah's Prayer" over you.   1 Samuel 1: 27-28 says, "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord."  We dedicated you to the Lord, trusting Him to lead you, and, in His perfect time, bring you the perfect girl.  How fitting that God brought Hannah into your life! She is a dream come true and an answer to our prayers for you!  We love you both so very much.


Congratulations to the happy couple!  And, Hannah, welcome to the nut house!


Breath of Spring


Finally, I'm posting pictures of the tiny little smocked bishop I finished for Lacey Ann, my grand-niece.  I will have the pleasure of meeting little Miss Lacey this coming weekend, and I can't wait.  It's been too long since I've had my hands on an itty-bitty baby girl.

It was very enjoyable constructing this rosy pink dress from cotton lawn fabric which feels as soft as the delicate breath of spring.  When I look at it, it reminds me of strawberry fluff with whipped cream on top.  The sleeves are trimmed with cotton eyelet and the flowers are smocked on satin ribbon.  Just enough "fuss" to be sweet.  Dreamy....


On Sunday, Tom and I are headed to Cancun to visit Abby and Jonathan.  Our son, Brad is there working with them for several months, and his girlfriend, Hannah, is down there visiting for a few weeks as well.  We're looking forward to spending time with with them, ministering with them in the local villages, and having a little fun on the beach, naturally!

Be looking for a post from Cancun shortly!


Sharon's Chicken Salad


A couple nights ago, I was invited to a ladies' night in my neighborhood.  Everyone was asked to bring a dish to share.  Thinking a pretty bowl of chicken salad might just be the ticket, I pulled out this delicious version from my friend, Sharon.  I have yet to meet anyone who tried it and didn't love it.  And many have asked for the recipe.
I know you'll like this!!


Sharon's Chicken Salad

  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped tart apple
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • poppy seeds sprinkled over the top
Mix all this together and serve in a pretty bowl.

    You may notice the conspicuous absence of poppy seeds in the pictures.  Turns out my bottle of poppy seeds had gone rancid.  Ugh!  So, I had to skip those in this batch.  That's ok.  It's still great without them.   Also, I usually chop up some pecans to throw in this.  Delicious!!


    Chicken salad with homemade bread and fresh pineapple. 

    Life is a picnic.  Celebrate every morsel!