Greetings from Puebla, Mexico!
We hope you all had a very Blessed Good Friday and Easter Day! Remember! Easter season is not over, it’s every day because . . . He is Risen! Alleluia!
The past several weeks have been interesting to say the least as we’ve been doing our best to adapt to life during this world Pandemic, COVID-19. Needless to say,
We’re Staying Put!
We’ve hesitated to post anything other than sending out our April Newsletter this past month or so. Now that the initial flurry of communication and media that has kept us busy on our phones and computers is subsiding, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on how we’ve adapted.
Each day we’ve been getting up at a decent hour (okay, 7:00 am isn’t too bad). We try to get sufficient exercise each day, and all the photos are from the sights on our walks. We may start getting up earlier to beat the heat! It’s been quite hot and dry here as we await the rainy season! One goal we’ve been able to work at is Getting Caught up on the host of things that we haven’t been able to get to and even getting a bit ahead on preparing for ministry (preparing lessons, sermon prep, admin for the Seminary groups, etc.) Wow! Now, there’s a concept!! We’ve also be blessed to be able to remain in contact with Pastors and Leaders in the places where we minister. Meal times have been much more relaxed, however, we really enjoy cooking so we’ve been preparing good wholesome meals too! Reading for enjoyment! It’s actually happening! Wow! Seems like forever since we’ve been able to read something that wasn’t for ministry or had some pressure behind it! Oh! And, we’ve been brushing up on our Spanish too! That’s just a wee glimpse of our routine!
Update on Mexico
There’s been all kinds of news and updates surging through the media and it’s hard to know what to believe. Even the reports on COVID-19 cases and how many have died from it can’t really be trusted. There are stories of towns closing the roads to keep the virus out, disinfecting tunnels people can go through to get sanitized, some states are imposing curfews and enforcing the distancing guidelines, and some states are now requiring face masks to be worn in public. As in many other places all non-essential services are closed, meetings can only be up to 5-10 people so churches are not to have gatherings and attempting online withe great difficulty. Many churches in smaller communities are meeting anyway because they feel it is essential because they don’t have internet or cell signal to make it work. Every day essential services are imposing stricter guidelines for their workers and keeping distance from their customers. The one thing here is a fear that the economic effects are going to cripple society. So many have already lost their jobs and if the quarantine regulations continue after the end of April, many fear that riots and violence will skyrocket. Please continue to pray that the Mexican people won’t be victimized in that way as well.
Thank you for your prayers and continued support, especially during this uncertain time. We give thanks to the Lord that we are well! We have been able to bless several people by helping deliver drinking water, supplying much needed food bank items, supporting Pastors/leaders with the overly-inflated cost of essential foods like corn, rice, and beans, and staying connected to our ministry workers here in Mexico, friends, family and supporters in Canada. We pray daily that we can be a blessing to our next door neighbours as well. A couple days ago, Carolyn baked several dozen cookies and some banana breads to share with our neighbours. These acts of kindness go a long way to strengthen our relationships and we feel so blessed to be a part of them!
Lots of Travel this month!
So great to see new students keen to study! Such a good time visiting and sharing with the churches and students in La Sierra Norte of Puebla, Feb 14-16 and then in Acambay, Feb 21-23!
Feb 14-16 Phil travelled with Dan to La Sierra Norte to connect with a number of different Pastors and groups, and to also visit Pastor Sabastian, the former President of the Missionary Church in Mexico. He has been in hospital from a stroke. He has been taken home to recuperate, but is still experiencing a lot of paralysis, confined to bed and unable to speak. The doctors want to see his platelets increase before taking him to the city of Puebla for further tests and appointments. Please be praying for him and his family during this difficult time.
Last weekend, Feb 20-24 Phil travelled with two leaders from the state of Puebla to Acambay in the state of Mexico, and to San Juan del Río in the state of Querétaro. Along with Bernabé and Moisés, Phil met with two groups to register the students and begin their first lessons together.
This group represents 3 churches (the 3 groups together). They are very keen and hope that others will want to join or start another group before too long!
From Acambay, they travelled to San Juan del Río in the state of Querétaro to visit another group of students wanting to start studying. The church has only been meeting for about a year and they are eager to learn more of God’s Word.
Carolyn has been busy baking goodies for Phil to take and share with the groups and churches he’s been visiting. That’s a lot of baked goods!
Feb 25-26 Phil and Carolyn travelled to Mexico City to finish up our part for our Permanent Residency VISAS. That means we will be permanent residents of Mexico and we won’t have to do any more renewals! Yay! We should have our new cards by early next week!
Wow! 2020 seems to be really speeding up!
Here is it February already!
January was so busy with ministry travel, dealing with the many details for our Permanent Residency VISAS, and the coming and going of Plumbers to fix the leak in our kitchen ceiling and laundry area! And, it looks like February is only going to get more busy and fly by!
Here are a few pictures from the past couple weeks.
Yesterday we said goodbye to our best friend, Bear.
We are so grateful to God for the opportunity to have taken care of one of His most amazing creatures. Bear was among the most loving, gentle, and calm dogs. Everyone loved him! From him we learned so much more about unconditional love and the need for companionship. We thank God for all the fun we had with him and how he was always there to be a friend, more than anything. There are countless people we have come to know and become good friends with through his presence with us. Thank you everyone for loving Bear and being part of our lives!
The last month in particular has been difficult. After a number of Vet visits to deal with a build up of fluid, Bear was diagnosed with a tumor in his thorax which was causing the fluid build up. Test results came back saying that it was cancer. He was 11 and a half years old and had a really good life.
Below are some of our favourite photos of Bear. We are missing photos of some of his friends. Goodbye to his Lakewood friends, Charlie, Jazz, George, Pepper, Mac and Nugget. Goodbye to his Mexico friends, Canela, Jasper, Ruby, Kori, and Dakota. The individual photos below are also in this PPT – Bear
This past week was a busy week preparing for the weekend. We hosted the October Bake’n Take on Saturday and Carolyn was asked to make the Anniversary Cake for the church we attend here in Puebla. See photos below.
This past week Sept 22 – 25 . . .
Phil travelled with Dan to Tampico in the north of Mexico.
They had a really good time connecting with the Pastors, churches and groups that are studying the SEAN material in Tampico, traveling in the states of Tamaulipas and a small town in the northern part of Veracruz, Mexico.
It is so amazing to visit places where groups are excited about studying God’s Word. Seeing and hearing testimonies of what God is doing, how their knowledge and understanding of the Bible is transforming their lives – words cannot fully explain. Below are some photos from the trip.
This older man in the photo to the right gave testimony to the benefit of studying with his group. He is blind and told us how having spent over 60 years of attending church religiously, he learned nothing. Now, being part of this group, he studies with his wife and their lives are filled with joy to learn more and more about Jesus. Pastor Jaime standing behind him leads this group and travels over 2 hours from his home in Tampico over very rough roads to minister at his church in Paso Real for 3 days each weekend.
Their travels took them to a very small church where they were able to encourage the people. Below is a video of the building they currently meet in and the work they have started on building a church. They are looking for assistance to be able to finish the work.
Another 2 groups study in Tampico under the direction of Pastor Bernardo. The more advanced group is in the Second Level of the Seminary Program and the other group is almost finished the First Level.
We are so grateful for these groups studying. Our mission organization World Partners has a fund that we use to help the students with half the cost of the materials for the Seminary Program. This fund is getting low and we ask that you consider a contribution of any amount to help students. Go to Project Leadership Development for more information and how you can make a financial contribution.
Here are a few more pictures from the trip, scroll over for caption.
We made it to the Beach in Madero which is really part of Tampico. It was so hot we could only stay for an hour or so and walk the pier.
Yesterday, Monday, Sept 16 was Mexican Independence Day.
On Sunday, we celebrated after church at the church we attend here in Puebla. Everyone was grateful for Carolyn’s offer to make a cake.
The cakes were fantastic! The big one was a vanilla cake coloured in the colours of the Mexican flag! Not only was it visually cool, it was so moist and yummy!
The other one was a Tres Leche cake. It’s certainly the “best we’ve ever tasted!” At least that’s what we’ve been told!