Friday, October 9, 2009

Updates and Prayer request

This has been a busy month both physically and mentally. Since my last post Heidi has been in a car wreck, we've got a new Spanish tutor, I've preached again, Hudson has become an excellent swimmer and has had ups and downs at school, Brooklyn had 103 degree temperature, and we've gone in and out of culture shock.
Now to go into more detail.
Heidi picked up Hudson from school 3 weeks ago and wanted to take him with her to the market, he didn't want to go so she dropped him off at home. Shortly after that I received a phone call, "Ryan, I've been in an accident!". So my wife is by herself, not being fluent is Spanish, with our only vehicle, in the middle of an intersection. I quickly called Allan, (Josh Sanchez cousin who lives a couple of houses down, is bilingual, and well be going to Central Christian College in Jan.), he hopped in the church van and took our Mexican insurance papers, while I stayed home with the two kids. An hour later I still hadn't heard anything. I call Heidi and she says she's at the police office and she'll call me back. Finally she get home with the car. SO what happened was that Heidi was driving and came over a hill with a red light, she didn't notice the light and hit the back side of an old truck caving in our bumper. Fortunately we had insurance for down here. The insurance agent showed up only 20 minutes after being called, took pictures, did paper work. The cops decided not to give her a ticket since the other man involved in the accident wasn't hurt and neither was his vehicle. (We are very fortunate that there was no one riding in the back of the truck, a common sight down here.) We will only be responsible for the $500 deductible. Not the greatest news in the world, but could be worse. We took the car to the mechanic that night, he took pictures and said the part should be in by Friday, if not Monday..... That was almost 4 weeks ago. The parts still haven't arrived, but at least we still can drive the car. Please pray that the parts will arrive soon and when they do that the car will be fixed well and quickly.
We also begin classes with a new tutor this month. He takes a different approach and focuses more on the speaking than learning the grammar. We decided to try it out for a month and then evaluate. I'm not sure what we think yet. The tutor says we are doing well and should be fluent in another month or two. We don't know whether to buy into this or not since we don't know how to judge ourselves. This weekend is the last weekend of classes that we paid for, please pray that we make the right decision in choosing a tutor that's best for us and that we learn the language quickly and efficiently.
Like I said earlier in this post, I've preached again with Allan translating. This time on the life of Joseph and how no matter the circumstances God was always with him and he always did the right thing. Also how he responded to being seduced by his owner's wife. "How can I do such a thing and sin against God?" I think it went well.
Hudson has been practicing his swimming and now can swim the length of an Olympic sized pool above water without stopping, pretty impressive since he couldn't swim above water at all 2 months ago. At school he has kept a good attitude, but it's hard for him since he doesn't speak Spanish yet, and the other kids know very little English. When he has tried to play soccer with the other boys at recess they get mad at him if he does something wrong, and he doesn't know what he's doing wrong because of the language barrier. The kids don't know a whole lot of words in English, but they do know name calling words, so they use these on my son sometimes. He tries to play "tag or chase" with the girls, but when he catches them, other boys ,(not understanding what Hudson is trying to play), step in and try to protect the girls by pushing him. As a result he has started to play by himself a lot at recess. He doesn't seem to be bothered by it, but it's hard for us a parents to know what's happening. On the bright side though, he has made lots of friends in our neighborhood. It seems like everyday either kids are coming over to our house to play with him, or he's playing outside in the park with the kids. Please pray that he learns the language quickly and makes good friends at school.
Brooklyn is doing good down here, her health hasn't been a serious issue. She did have 103 degree temperature last week, but she never coughed or had a runny nose. And the next morning it was gone. She is talking more and picking up Spanish words, (She is behind on her speech development). Everyone she sees she greets with "hola". Please pray that her health doesn't become an issue and that she continues to catch up to where her speech should be for her age.
Heidi and I have been on a roller coaster this month with our stress and culture shock. It's little and big things that make it seem hard some days. Anything from not knowing the language to driving over a speed bump every half block. There are days that we miss our friends and family, and other days that we are laughing and having a good time with the people that we've met here. There are days we miss having a yard, 2 cars, going out to eat whenever we feel like it, and other days that we feel so blessed that we have more time with our children and that Heidi gets to stay home with them. There are days that I'm so frustrated with my neighbors loud music late at night, and other days when I am so happy that I am building relationships with them. There are days that we wonder, "what in the world am I doing here?" and other days that we feel honored and privileged to be able to serve the Lord here and wouldn't want it any other way. They say the first year on the mission field is the hardest. We have been uprooted from everything we know and are familiar with and have been replanted in a totally different environment. And it just takes time for those roots to settle into the new soil and become healthy and strong. Please pray that our family continues to adjust well and that we will always put His will above ours.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lets Party Fiesta Forever

In the previous post I wrote that I was wanting to get to bed early last Saturday night since I was preaching the next morning. I laid my head on my pillow at 11:30 to the sound of my neighbors fiesta in her front yard, (our houses touch). Anyone that knows me very well can tell you that I'm a very light sleeper. I have woken up many times on youth trips catching teens preparing to spray me with shaving cream or attempting some other prank. So being a light sleeper has benefited me in the past, but not so much in Mexico. Since I wasn't going to get any sleep for a while anyways, I decided to take the dog, Rowdy, out to go "potty" again. As I stood there in the front yard with my dog shirtless watching the neighbors firing up a grill, two men walked by on their way to the neighbors party. One stopped to pet my dog and started speaking to me in English. As it turns out he is from Korea and is here working at the port, (Manzanillo has the largest port in Mexico). The other man with him spoke English also and is the father of one of Hudson's friends that has come over to play on several occasions. They then invited me to the party next door. So there I stood with my dog in nothing but my shorts tired and ready for sleep, the selfish part of me wanted to be back in my bed where my wife was already asleep and where I wouldn't have to step out of my comfort zone. But I knew that is not why we're here. I have said before and constantly desire to be a bond-servant for Christ to live for His glory not mine and this was a small opportunity to do just that. Of course I wasn't going to be ridiculed or tortured for going to the neighbors party and maybe none of those people will ever come to church, but regardless of how they respond I need to do what I feel is Jesus' will, not mine. So I went to the party, they pulled up a chair for me, gave me a 2nd supper for the night (I think it was beans with steak on top), and the men that knew English were very friendly and talked with me the whole time I was there. I was offered beer and tequila numerous times. I told them I was a missionary and that I was preaching in the morning, but they still didn't understand why I didn't want to drink. One guy showed up and started talking with me and the Korean, Jack, he told us if we wanted he could get us marijuana or peyote. I politely said "no thanks" while at the same time laughing. I eventually made it to bed at 2 am, the party was still going strong but by this time I was tired enough that the noise didn't bother me, or maybe it was because I didn't find the neighbors as obnoxious. Either way I went to sleep. The next morning Heidi said, "I couldn't hardly sleep last night, that party was going on till 3 am." I smiled and said, "I know, I was there."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You bought what?

Last Saturday we went to a girl from the church's Quince AƱos birthday celebration. Shortly after we arrived here in Mexico she asked us to be Padrinos for her party. We weren't really sure what this meant, but were honored to be asked. We soon found out that it meant that we pay for half of her dress for the party. "OK", we thought, "how much can a dress cost? and we're only paying half." As time to purchase the dress came closer we found out that the other lady that was buying the other half of the dress lost her job, but would still pay $40 towards the dress. When it was time to take this young girl to buy the dress she had already picked out, we realized the price was $250 U.S. This was more than what we thought the cost would be. But after listening to an explanation from another missionary here, we agreed to do what we committed to do and buy the dress. Let me explain why we choose what we did. In the Mexican culture this is the biggest day in a girls life, 2nd maybe to her wedding. It is her coming into womanhood. And with this family, like several that we are working with, they have very little money. The dad works, the mom stays at home and takes care of the 6 kids while being pregnant with a 7th. When we went to pick her up for the party at her house we were able to see the inside for the first time. The whole house is one room about the size of a foyer at your local church with an outside patio for the kitchen. There is one dresser, and a bed pushed up next to a couch for the kids to sleep on. From what I observed they don't have a car. Every Sunday the girls either ride with someone else to church or take a taxi. This will probably be the one time in her life that this young girl will get to feel like a princess. What is considered poor in the US would seem more like middle class here. We are here for the people trying to show Christ's love with our lives. Do I think Jesus would have wanted me to buy the dress.... I honestly don't know. If I knew then what I know now would I agree to be the dress purchaser again? Probably. My guess is that I'll find out eventually as I am expecting to be asked again sooner or later.
The party was a lot of fun. When we sat down at a table all of the young people from the church came and sat with us, they even pulled up extra chairs. This was encouraging to us since our focus here is on them. They must like us! By the time we got home and put the kids to bed it was 11 pm. The next morning I was preaching so I wanted to get to bed ASAP, but that didn't happen. Details in the next post!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mexican Life

Hudson has now been in school for 2 weeks. I think he's adjusting OK, he still struggles with the language barrier. When the teacher is teaching in Spanish he has no idea what is going on. Also the other kids don't speak as much English as we thought they would, so he has only made friends with one boy. At recess he still plays by himself a lot, this is hard for him because he loves being around people. Please pray that he will pick up Spanish quickly and make friends at his new school.
My dad has been home from the hospital for about a week now. Thank you for all the prayers. The internal bleeding has stopped, but they were never able to locate where the problem was. He is still very weak. Please pray for his recovery.
Brooklyn has not had any problems adjusting to life here in Mexico. We were worried about her asthma and allergies, but they have not been a problem at all. She is talking more in English and Spanish. She says, "Hola", to everyone we pass on the sidewalk. Brooklyn also gets excited and starts to dance when she knows that we are going outside to play.
Heidi and I continue to study Spanish and work with the youth here. Tomorrow is a girl in the church's Quince Anos and Heidi and I are the Padrinos. Then on Sunday I am preaching with a translator. I will write more about what a Quince Anos is and what our role as Padrinos means later.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hudson, Football, and my Dad.

Yesterday we had another good youth day. The grade school kids came over to our house at 9 am for pancakes, a lesson, and Wii. Then the teenagers came over at 10 am for a lesson, video games, internet, and then the beach. While eating lunch yesterday with the teens Hudson's tooth finally came out. He had been messing with it all week, and on Thursday I tried to pull it out. This didn't help. For the last two days it was hurting so bad he didn't want to eat. So now as he heads off to his first day of first grade tomorrow he will be missing a top front tooth. He is excited and nervous at the same time for school tomorrow as he doesn't know anyone there and half of the day will be spoken in English and the other half in Spanish. The teachers are bilingual and know that he doesn't speak Spanish yet. But with this immersion he will pick it up very fast, but at the same time he will be very frustrated at first I'm sure.

Today Hudson's neighborhood friends came over, like they do most days to play video games during the heat of the day. One of the boys, Juan, usually stays for dinner too. Tonight he said he wanted to say prayer! Afterwards we played soccer outside, they asked tomorrow if we could play American football. Now that's what I'm talking about!

I talked with my mom yesterday and today about my dad. He is still in the hospital and still losing blood. They are not sure where he is bleeding and gave him two more units yesterday. He now has had a total of 5 units this week. He's had several procedures this week to figure out where the blood is coming from and a hand surgery to remove an infection. I didn't find out till yesterday, but Friday night he was having trouble after the surgery. His breathing wasn't good, his heart rate wasn't good, and he wasn't responding very good. It's hard being 32 hours away from my family as this is going on. My sister was able to drive down to Joplin from Jeff City Saturday morning, but Friday night when things were looking bad, my mom was there alone. Please pray for my dads healing and for comfort for my family.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week in review

This week has definately been interesting. Unfortunately it rained last Sunday night so there was no volleyball to be played. But when I talked to one of the guys this week he said Friday night, so hopefully tonight I will be able to play with the neighbors again.
Less than 2 weeks ago we got a new puppy for the kids, I think it's a black lab mix. Anyways we named him Titan. 2 days ago I was working on the computer and Heidi sent Hudson away and called for me. Heidi had been cooking dinner and fed Titan, when she turned around he was lying motionless under the table. He had choked on his puppy food and not been able to make a sound. I pounded on his chest a little, but it was too late. Hudson took this pretty hard, I don't think Brooklyn understands what happened. Last February we lost another puppy that someone in our neighborhood gave antifreeze to. Please keep our kids in your prayers and they deal with this and continue to adjust to life in Mexico.
Also, I've been on the phone quite a bit this week with my family. My dad has been in the hospital for 2 weeks now. He's had a low red cell blood count. They have given him 3 units of blood and today are supposed to do the second scope to see where he's bleeding. If they can't find it today they will give him a pill to swallow that has a little camera on it. Since recieving the blood he's doing better, he was getting pretty week. Please pray for his medical issues to be taken care of and for him to regain his strength.