Friday, July 25, 2008

Slow/Busy Week

Hello Everyone-

We have begun the countdown for our bittersweet homecoming...7 nights to go. It’s sad leaving such a beautiful place with so many newly gained experiences...it hardly feels like it’s been 6 months already...it feels more like a couple days. We are excited to see our family and friends though, and know that our time here is coming to an end as the doors for opportunities to serve are closing.

Joel and I had a nice weekend last weekend. We went to Pan de Vida on Saturday morning to find out that there was no school. We went grocery shopping and took our neighbor, Leña to the beach. She had a great time boogie boarding with us. Sunday was Joel’s last time leading worship which he’s done a great job at, especially while Joy has been gone. We just relaxed on Sunday afternoon. We also had a fun time taking out Joel’s braids that he got at the beach last week...he was a fluff head by the time we were done!



Joel’s been working a lot for Fine Designs this week and we took our usual beach day on Tuesday. We went to a different beach than Sayulita...we went to a place called Destiladeros. The waves were awesome and we had a great time using our boogie boards. This Tuesday was our last “Tuesday at the beach,” as we will be helping with the mission team next week.


Wednesday we began packing (tear)...We took down all our decorations, sorted through our clothes, etc. We will be coming home with 5 bags and 1 box, and everything fits! We will be leaving behind a small guitar purchased in Guadalajara and a vase, and maybe a few other things. We will leave those things at Vera’s house and pick them up when we come again. We started packing so early because we will be busy with the mission team next week. We basically have enough clothes for a 9-day vacation...pretty much all the rest will be going to Vera’s in a box for the lady who will be starting to rent our apartment in September. One of Vera’s friends has asked to rent the apartment from September until March and has paid us to leave all our “supplies” behind...dishes, towels, etc...That works out really nice for us because we don’t have to worry about what to do with it and it gave us some extra spending money while in Guadalajara.

Thursday was spent packing some more while Joel went to help Lee Short with construction on his house in Mezcales. He was put to work painting boards with old car oil to become concrete forms. It’s sad that we don’t have any pictures of the construction progress. The only thing standing when we first started helping was the foundation. As the weeks have gone by, the wall panels are already up and it’s actually starting looking like a house!

This morning we went to Pan de Vida for a last “hurrah!.” There was a mission team there doing Bible Lessons and puppet shows. It was a very emotional “goodbye,” especially with Luis Miguel and Lupita. There are no words to describe the impact that the kids and the adults at Pan de Vida have had on our lives. Luis and Lupita gave us T-shirts that say “I serve Jesus Christ” in Spanish. They said that they have 3 different t-shirts...the first one they give when you first except Jesus in your life, the second one is when you learn about the Bible and Jesus, and the third one, which we got, is when you start serving for the Lord. It was such an emotional thing for me as I have been called for this experience since I was 13 years old, and though it’s sad that it’s coming to an end, I feel so incredibly blessed that God has been faithful to allow me to “live my dream.” I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and going to Pan de Vida this morning really re-affirmed that this was the right thing for us and it was powerful to look back over the past six months to see how we have been blessed....even more than the people we have been serving.

The thunder storms have been getting louder and louder and the rain, stronger. Last night was the loudest it’s been... As this week comes to a wrap up, Joel plans on working some more for Fine Designs and I plan on packing up whatever else I can, including gathering things that we’re not using anymore to give to Vera’s friend. The mission team comes in this Saturday and we have been assigned to drive Ric’s 12-passenger van all week next week while he drives our car around to the various sites where the teams will be working. We also found out that we will be hosting 3 members of the mission team while they are here...sounds pretty stressful, considering that we are working on moving out, but God will work everything out.

That’s all for now...please be praying for peace and comfort about leaving and for a smooth transition home. Please be praying also that we can get the most out of the time we have left and for safe travels back home. We appreciate you checking in!

Joel and Leslie

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tequlia :: Boat Fire :: Guyabitos


Hello Everyone-
It has been a relatively slow week in Vallarta as things wind down before coming home. Leslie counted and we only have 14 night left. Hard to believe we are almost done with obligations and life her in Mexico. It will truly be sad leaving our home here but we will be happy to see all of you.
This Sunday will be my last weekend leading worship at church. The group coming in from Colorado will be bringing their whole worship band, so it will be very lively on stage! Ric has purchased a sound system and they plan on doing a community outreach concert on Monday with the team.
The drive home from Guadalajara was a little bumpier than the way over there... I have a theory that everyone comes to Guadalajara empty and leave loaded up. This extra weight tears the road up under all the pressure. We were bobbing and weaving our way around the pot holes and luckily did not get any flat tires.
We stopped in Tequila, Jalisico Mexico. Mundo Cuervo was the fanciest of the tours and we decided to go there. For $100 pesos a piece we watched a video and got to go to the factory where they process the Blue Agave and make Tequila. The baked Agave with no alcohol tastes a little like molases and raw sugar cane.
(You gotta love the hairnets!)
The people who cut the Agave plant are called Jimadors (He-ma-doors). It is heavy work and you could often hear them grunt "He" while working. That is how they got their name. One Head of agave can weigh 60-80KG (130-175lbs)
One day this week, while visiting with Vera, we saw a cloud of black smoke rising from the ocean. We climbed to our balcony and saw the Yelapa Princess on fire! It is the 2nd boat tragedy Leslie saw first hand. We did not see anyone jumping into the water... but I am assuming there were no injuries.
Wednesday, Vera headed back home for 3 weeks. We drove her to the airport and went inside to ask the gate agent how we can bring back the TONOLA painting (see previous blog). She suggested trying to take it to the gate and if they have room to put it in the flight attendant closet. The policy has changed with paying passengers that they are only allowed one bag for free and the 2nd bag is $25 and the 3rd bag is $100... Luckily for us, the non revs are still allowed 2 bags before they charge. Next week we plan on packing a little and seeing how everything fits... I know it is all going to work out.

Yesterday we went to Guyabitos, a small beach north of Sayulita that we passed on the way to Guadalajara. It was a very nice white sand beach and there were alot of mexicans vacationing there... It is a much different feel than Puerto Vallarta of Sayulita where Canadians and Americans dominate the scene. I got my hair braided and Leslie thinks I look pretty foolish. I like it to have the hair out of my face for a change.

The weather has been nice in the day but stormy in the afternoons. After the beach we went to Costco for dinner and were found in the middle of a lightning storm! The Lightning and thunder were hitting at the exact same time... I do not know if the bolt hit the store or not but I was glad to be in the cover of a wharehouse vs the chevy.
Does anyone know if you are really safe inside a car? I heard that the rubber tires keep you safe from being struck by lightning.

Well, It is about time to head home to Leslie. I have been doing a lot of work for Fine Designs today and am ready to go home and eat some soup.

Thanks for checking in on us!

Joel and Leslie

Thursday, July 10, 2008

PhotoBLOG of Guadalajara

Hello everyone-
Leslie and I have been busy seeing as much as we can see in Guadalajara and surrounding cities.
Our last few blogs have been very long so I will let the pictures speak on these ones.

This picture is in front of the fountain in the plaza East of the cathdral. There are 4 plazas that form a cross on all sides of the cathedral.

Here is a picture of the Fountain and the Cathedral.

Here is a Pig Headed Joel playing his new guitar that he got for $22 at the market San Juan de Dios. Leslie did a really great job on this picture. It really looks like my head!

Food is not marketed the same as in the USA... Yes, that is an animal Skull in with the meat that someone would eat. The lady whose stand it was did not like me taking this picture.
The far east part of the city has this Fountain and Institute Cultural Cabañas. It is currently used as an art school and gallery similar to PNCA, my old art school. There are 24 plazas woven in the building... Leslie said she has never seen any thing like this. I am reminded a little of Europe.
Here is the largest plaza in the Institute Cultural Cabañas.


We stopped into the Regional Museum of Guadalajara and saw some very interesting museum stuff that would just bore you if we posted it online.... However a detail on one of the horse drawn carriages in the museum was very interesting... Perhaps my mom will want to research this. But my last name KELLNER is on the Light of a horse drawn carriage from the 1800's.
We made side trips to two cities: Tlaquepaque (tah-LAK-eh-PAK-eh) and Tonala (Tone-ah-la). Both are known for handcrafts and Pottery. Of the two we both agree Tonala is much bigger and better. However Tlaquepaque did have some neat sculptures on the sidewalk.

Here is a closeup of some pottery in a museum in Tlaquepaque.
Leslie is listening to a Bronze Guitarist in Tlaquepaque


Tonola was Leslies favorite stop... She bought tons of souviniers for around $100 I have no idea how we are going to get it all home, but she did a great job bartering and finding sweet deals.

We finished the evening off going to the theater to see Ballet Folklorica... It was amazing to see the different costumes, music and dances of the regions of Mexico. Leslie really likes the way the legs swivel around in the Cowboy one... For anyone who has a chance to see this Ballet I would highly recommend it. There is live music and some amazing feats! Dancing with Machetes, Rope Twirling, and even dancing with glasses of water on their heads.


video video

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mezcales::Guadalajara

Hello Everyone-

Sorry for the lengthy time in between blog posts. This past week has been a busy one that started off with Joel's birthday last Sunday. Below you can see a picture of some Pinata action from the big neighborhood party to celebrate our neighbor's first communion and Joel's birthday.


Monday and Tuesday started off normally with Joel working for Fine Designs on Monday and me cleaning the house and doing the laundry. Tuesday was our usual day in Sayulita. We brought our new friends Amy and Alisha with us. They actually just went home yesterday which was sad. The water there was flat, but that didn't stop Joel from renting a surf board and he caught a couple of waves.

Wednesday, we were able to go see one of the kids from Pan de Vida perform at a kindergarten graduation at her school. The kids were so cute and did great job remembering their lines and the words to their songs. The kids here graduate kindergarten at what would be equivalent to about 2nd grade there. The little girl who we were watching doesn't graduate for another year or two.

Thursday we both went back out to Mezcales to help Lee Short continue building his new home and ministry base. As Lee is building, he is inscribing Bible Verses into the still moist concrete...Joel and I put "Proverbs 3:5-6" into the footer that we placed last week. We then cut 17 pieces of rebar into 3 ft.-long pieces which ended up being a pretty big pile of rebar. Since Pastor Luis Miguel and Lupita from Pan de Vida live by where we are building, Lee keeps all the materials at their house so it doesn't get stolen and we ended up working most of the day over there. Lupita made us a delicious lunch and after that, we went back to the work site to scrape and dust off some of the dirt that had settled on the block foundation so we can later pour the concrete forms. Meanwhile Lee was buying wood to build the forms. When he returned, not only did he have the wood, but also a huge bucket of used motor oil to paint the wood with to help make the concrete pouring easier. (All of this is over my head, so I apologize for any mis-explinations). Joel and I were done around 6PM and he and Luis Miguel were able to fix the passenger side window to our car which hasn't been able to be rolled down for a couple months. Since they live around a bunch of mango trees, we were also able to take quite a few mangos home with us. Joel had fun using the "mango picker" which was a pop bottle cut in half that was tied to the end of a 12 foot tree branch. There's a picture of the contraption below. In all, we had a really great time hanging out with Luis Miguel and Lupita outside of Pan de Vida and feel like we were able to get to know them a little better.





On Friday, we picked up Amy and Alisha and they and myself were dropped off at Casa Hogar. Joel went back to Mezcales to help Lee again. We ended up staying at Casa Hogar until almost 4PM which made for a long day. It really is like "Little Orphan Annie"...The kids are wild with no structure and as little as they are, they have learned to look out for each other. It was a really hot day and so after playing for a little while, a lot of the kids fell asleep on the cool tile floor. It was Amy and Alisha's last day and so we took some extra time so they could say "goodbye" to the kids. On our way home from there, we stopped at Comida Corrida to eat, which they enjoyed.

To our surprise, Pastor Luis Miguel and Lupita asked us why we haven't been coming to Pan de Vida on Saturdays while we were helping Lee on Thursday. We didn't know the program was still running on Saturdays, so this past Saturday, we went to Pan de Vida. We only had two kids in our class out of our usual 6. Two of our kids (sisters) were with their aunt, our boy was with his dad, and we don't know where the other on was. We did a worksheet about Joseph in prison and how he became second to Pharoah. They did a good job finding the Bible verses and understanding the story.

(JOEL WRITING)
Sunday was Ric's first day back at church and it was really good to see him. Randy and Sandra and Dennis and Faye are back in the states so I had expected around 10 people to show up at church. Suprizingly we had about 20! Carol sang worship with me again she has such a great voice and ear for harmony. After church Leslie spent the afternoon with the girls by a hotel pool. I went home and drew 2 pictures. One was a portrait of Leslie and I, the other was the completion of our balcony view. I had drawn 2 sections when we first arrived, this was the first drawing I had done since then. I really should make more time to do that because it is something I really enjoy. Sunday night It was raining really hard. Leslie took a video that we have posted on the bottom of this page. The girls came over and we had spaghetti dinner spending time with them was nice because we rarely see people our own age.

Monday we headed off to Guadalajara. It rained most of the night and the streets were like rivers as we left Vallarta. We drove the Sayulita road until and had passed several Mudslides before getting to the High speed toll road. We passed several agave fields and lush green mountainsides. Leslie and I were commenting that this image is not what I used to think Mexico was. So much of what you see in movies etc is the dusty dry desert. This looks like it could be in Ireland it is so green.
After about 5 hours of driving, we finally saw the sign " Welcome to Guadalajara" Like every traveling experience, it is not what you have in your head. I had imagined more colonial feel and there were parts that looked just like Seattle. We finally did made it to the Historical district which is more of what I imagined, but it still is not exact.
We are stying in Hotel Francis. It was built in 1610 the view below is from the 1st floor down into the lobby where 3 mariachi singers entertained a small crowd. Our room is on the 2nd floor and we have wireless internet access. This hotel is right in the center of all the attractions. We are next door to the Governors Palace and a few blocks away from the Cathedral, Theater, Liberty Plaza etc.
We walked around for a while and ended up getting caught in a rain storm. It looks like we can not escape the rain in any city. Leslie got a Pancho I went for an umbrella. We both got about the same amount wet although I could take a picture and Leslie could not.

Well That is all for now!

Joel and Leslie


video

Sunday, June 29, 2008

CASA HOGAR :: BARRA DE NAVIDAD::JOEL’S BIRTHDAY

(FRIDAY: Joel Writing)

Friday Leslie and I went with Alisha and Amy to Casa Hogar. It is an orphanage out by the airport. The first impression is awesome... It is a gated compound with nice white buildings and neat architectural flourishes. The girls had been working in the Baby section of the orphanage for almost a month. They will be leaving next week.

I am impressed with people who can work with young kids. I am sure it will be different when they are my own, but these kids were so needy. They have 15 kids and only 1 or 2 Lady volunteers. Some of these kids are in really bad shape. Imagine 15 of Jackie’s little brother Pelucas. The majority of these kids are non verbal and hyperactive. A few seem to have mental or physical disabilities, it breaks my heart that I can not heal them. There were two that I held for a while and they seemed pretty un- responsive. One girl was very skinny with thin hair. She was just laying on the ground in a twisted position. I picked her up and held her, but she did not react like a normal child. Instead, she rubbed her face against my t-shirt as if she enjoyed the sensation. Her hands were grabbing her own feet, her hair was in her face and I felt as if I could not do anything to help her. Another child wanted to be held all the time. I had the joy of feeding him lunch. A half of spoon full at a time for about 20 minutes finally finished his bowl. I do not know how old he was. He had his bottom 2 teeth, the beginning of the 4 front tops and the addition of two molars. He was not eating any solids. When he would cry and I did not know what to do, Leslie came to my rescue and magically calmed him down.

Some of the healthy ones need medical attention for (diaper rashes, skin sores and bug bites). When I first heard there were only 15 kids I thought that was nothing. But these kids really need more one on one attention. The only orphanages I have seen have been on TV movies. This was nothing like Pipi-longstocking, Little Orphan Annie or Oliver Twist. It was Hot and sweaty and these kids have not been introduced to boundaries. I know the ladies there are doing the best they can, but these kids need more care.

After the Orphanage, Leslie and I decided to travel to Barra de Navidad to explore some more of Mexico. It is about a 3 hour drive from Vallarta. We pass by the ocean on the first leg of the trip, then it is into the windy mountain roads. We passed some pine trees, mango trees, agave plants, cows on the side of the road and a few small towns. I think there was just one gas station in the middle.(Agave Fields)
There was one section of the road that the road looked like it was moving. After about 30 seconds, we realized there were little crabs that were crossing the road. They moved very fast. I do not think I hit any, but there were quite a few crab cakes on the road.

The most interesting vehicle of all the ones we passed was a Truck with a doll tied to the back... the picture should speak volumes.

We are staying in Hotel Delfin. $50 for both of us, free wireless internet and it includes a locked Garage for our car. The climate is about the same as Puerto Vallarta, but I notice a lot more BUGS! Big ones, small ones, biting ones, crawling ones and Flying ones just to name a few. Tomorrow we plan on sleeping in, eating breakfast and surfing at some nice beaches.

(SATURDAY: Leslie Writing)

We woke up this morning at around 9AM and decided to go eat breakfast. We have notice that Barra is a little muggier and a lot less breezy than PV which causes us to sweat a lot more. Our impression with Barra is good, but we like PV more. We ate breakfast this morning in a place called “Banana’s Cafe” in another hotel right on the ocean. The stretch of beach was really nice, and smaller than the beach in PV.
(The Community by El Carreyes)
After eating Breakfast we decided to hit the road as the beach recommended to us by the locals is about 45 minutes North. We drove and drove and must have missed the turn for it. In all, we took two side trips off the main road. One was to check out a Hotel called El Carreyes. It was very impressive; built 30 years ago and BEAUTIFUL! The pictures don’t do it justice. It’s a great place for those really looking to “get away,” because it’s miles from anywhere.

The second stop was a a random beach since we passed up the one we were supposed to go to. The wind was blowing really strong and the water was very violent. We decided to brave it anyway, and I had an accident the first wave I rode in. It was so strong that instead of pushing me smoothly to shore, it pushed me directly board first and head first into the sand. My board was stuck up and down at one point in the sand as was my body. As I was being tossed around, my body bent backwards and Joel came over and picked me up out of the water. The under toe was VERY strong too and it took a lot of strength just to get out of the water. God was watching and protecting me...We were miles from nowhere on a TOTALLY deserted beach and my neck or back could have snapped and broken! As soon as I was out of the water and realized what happened and what could have happened, I began to cry and decided that I wanted to go home. We are so thankful something worse didn’t happen!

We made it home safely and in time for dinner. We decided to try a new place per Joel’s Uncle Bob’s recommendation, called Barcelona. It was similar to a Tapas bar in Spain. We ordered two entrees each to share per the recommendation of our waiter. The food was wonderful and we will probably be going back there again. It’s a fun place to bring friends because the more people who come, the less you have to order as the theme is “sharing.”

(SUNDAY: Leslie Writing)

Today is Joel’s actual birthday. I organized a surprise Birthday cake and surprise singing of “Happy Birthday” at church. Randy and Sandra picked up a cake that I ordered at COSTCO and brought it to church. Joel wasn’t expecting it at all, so it was a nice little surprise.

Our neighbor Leina had her first communion today and there is a celebration going on all day within our neighborhood. We came home from church and ate a big breakfast and Leina just informed me that it’s time for more. Pepe, Leina’s dad said there might be a little pinata action later for Joel’s birthday. After eating in a few minutes, Joel has decided he wants to go see a movie.

When we get home, we have a couple options for a birthday present...his choices are either a Wii, life vest, or new wedding ring, although he just got a replacement ring for $10.

That’s about all we know for now. It’s been nice being adventuresome for the past couple days. Our plan this week is to help at the construction site again, maybe twice, and Casa Hogar again. Also, Pastor Luis Miguel from Pan de Vida tells us that the water trip for the kids is tentatively scheduled for next Saturday. The water park didn’t work out, but we will be able to take them to the beach or river. Pastor Ric comes back on Wednesday and the mission teams don’t start trickling in for another week and a half. We are planning on doing a trip to Guadalajara after church next Sunday and staying until the following Friday or Saturday. Since Sayulita is on the way too and from, we plan on staying a night or two there too.

Please be praying for continued good health for us and for our trip plans to work out. We have been saving little by little to be able to do something like Guadalajara and Barra de Navidad since we got here. We appreciate you checking in and are becoming anxious to come home.

We love you guys!

The Kellners

Thursday, June 26, 2008

WORKING HARD IN THE SUNSHINE

Hello Everyone-

This week is the first week with no Pan De Vida. Our first two days were pretty much the same as every other week. Monday we worked around the house and I did work for Fine Designs. Tuesday we went to Sayulita with Armando. Armando is our next door neighbor who is originally from Manzanillo. He owns a surf board but never gets to go surfing. We have been inviting him to Sayulita for many weeks. He finally got the approval for a day off from his work and we squeezed his board inside our car and headed up to go surfing.

We were hoping there would be no jellyfish so we could all enjoy the water. When we pulled up, we walked to the water and there were no jellyfish or waves either. The bay was completely smooth. The water was clear and very warm. We could not even ride our body boards. I decided to try finding the wedding ring, praying for a miracle. For about an hour I searched but did not find it. I realize it is probably gone for good, buried below the sandy bottom.

In the afternoon some small waves came in and Armando and I paddled out to the surfing side to try to catch something. I caught 3 waves all the way to shore. Armando’s board was much too small for the size of waved they had that day. He did not catch even one wave. We had a good time hanging out in the water and catching sun. Armando got very dark in just one day... When he went, he was about the same color as Leslie, by dinner time he was looking like a Native American.

After we came home, I went down to the Malecoln with Leslie and we bought a replacement wedding ring for $10 at a silver store.

Today Leslie had her last day at Quimixto. When she came back we both went up to Mezcales in Nayirit to help Lee Short and his wife Carol build their house. Lee and Carol are a missionary couple who go to our church. They helped us paint Vera’s upstairs. It was an opportunity for us to give them some help back.

Their property is in front of a mango grove. They are building the foundation right next door to another building under construction. The neighbors house is one story high, and they have dug a 2 by 2 meeter septic tank. They also just dug a well that drained a little water into the septic tank.

It is tough to work in the sun! My job was to dig out the soft dirt in an 8 foot hole on the other side of the septic tank. As I began digging the water from the well run-off leaked into my hole. It turned the squishy dirt into a thick paste that would not slide off the shovel when I tried to toss it out of the hole.

I ended up climbing into the septic tank and bailed out the water then filled in the gaps of the tank to prevent water from leaking onto Lee’s foundation. After patching the inside of the tank, I patched the outside as well. When finished I was exhausted!!! My t-shirt was drenched with sweat and I had a little headache.

Leslie was tying together the rebar for a large column. It was fun to be there doing work together. She taught me how to tie the bar together with wire. I helped a little while trying to recover from my over exertion.

After we finished tying together the rebar, one of the mexican workers helped me clear out the hole. Part of my frustration was that after 15 minutes I had no place to put the dirt. This meant I had to throw dirt from the hole to a dirt shelf above... then climb up and shovel the same dirt again. When the other worker was there, he would shovel the dirt to me and I would shovel it out to a bigger pile... with that system we eventually got the sticky mud out of the hole and chiseled away at the wall to make a 1 meter square platform. We used Shovels, picks, and a very large chisel to square up the walls.

I realize that I have never really worked that hard in the bright sun. At Alaska Airlines I was always inside the plane in the shade and the work happened in chunks. The plane came in, and we would down load the bags and then rest for 5 min or so... then upload the bags and push the airplane back. When all you have is a shovel and a hole that needs about an hours worth of digging, I did not know how to pace myself and boy did I get tired!!! In the late afternoon I did a lot of sitting around. I had a headache and felt a little nauseous.

Leslie ended up picking up a shovel and pick and worked on digging a hole for the footing of a wall. By the end of the day we were surrounded by gnats. Leslie said she felt like a dirty dog with all the gnats swarming around us. We dashed to the car to run away from our cloud of insects. Leslie pictured herself as Linus from Charlie Brown.

During the car-ride home, I was telling Leslie I did not feel well. She offered to drive. I made it from Nayarit back into Jalisco. Somewhere between the Corona factory and the Marina I vomited into my hat. Between heaves I emptied the contents out the passenger window. I can imagine the passers-by thinking I am a tourist who had too much to drink. It was pretty embarassing but made me feel much better!

After showering, resting and eating dinner we are ready for bed. We both have had too much sun these past few days. Tomorrow we plan on staying inside most of the day.

It is hard to believe June is almost over and we will have just one month left. If possible we would like to go to Guadalajara in these coming weeks.

Thanks for checkin’ in.

Joel and Leslie

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thunder and Lightening

Hello Everyone-

What a HOT week this has been. We can really tell that things are warming up A LOT. Between small spats of rain and sun, it’s really getting a lot more humid and hot. Last night, or early this morning, we had a small electrical storm with thunder and lightening. It was pretty incredible. The lightening was striking right in the bay outside our window. We got up at about 4:30AM and went to the balcony for some pictures and got a couple pretty good ones. It soon started raining so we went back to bed. The sun was able to burn off the clouds by about 11 this morning and the sun came out.


Today we took our latest “cool cash” grand prize winner and her brother to see Kung Fu Panda. We took them to Burger King for lunch, got her little brother, Raul, a graduation outfit, and then saw the movie. Our grand prize winner’s name is Nailley, and she chose to invite her little brother, Raul. He is graduating from kindergarten this year and needed a uniform for the graduation, which is what we bought before seeing the movie. They had a great time and really enjoyed the movie! We liked it too!


This was actually the last week of Pan de Vida, contrary to what we were thinking. Next week is school registration for next year, so the kids will be preparing for that before they are actually out of school for this year. Along with helping pastor Ric with his mission teams, pastor Luis Miguel and Lupita have also asked us to help with a mission team that will be coming to do a VBS for Pan de Vida and build some houses. They would like us to be interpreters, so we feel like we will be having our hands full with “out of towners.” Since we don’t have Pan de Vida next week, we are sure there will be other things for us to do.

(This is Luis, one of the kids at Pan de Vida. He drew a picture of himself today!)

This was my first week back to Quimixto since it was raining last week and it was cancelled. Our new friends that are here for a month were invited to come along (Amy and Alisha), but only Alisha came as Amy was sick. She had a great time and I was able to see about ten people. The “clinic” seems like it is going well, but with school winding down, this next Wednesday will also be my last. Hopefully Amy will be able to come along this time too since she is also a newly graduated nurse.

Joel had a very productive week for Fine Designs He was at the internet cafe a lot and made some good progress. We are continually thankful to God for allowing him to be able to work from here and for providing for us in that way.

Tomorrow at church we will be saying “goodbye” to Dennis and Faye. About this time every year, they pack up and drive back to the US for about a month and a half to see family and raise support. They stay in the Bay Area of San Francisco with friends when they go home. They have been such a blessing and encouragement for us while we’ve been here and we’ll miss them. It’s been so nice to have connections like them while we’ve been here...someone to help take care of us if we need something.

We continue to enjoy watching the neighborhood kittens. The second set of kittens across the way from us have grown up quickly. They enjoy playing in the plants and driving “mama kitty” crazy! They like to wrestle with each other too...here in Mexico it’s called “Lucha Libre.” Nonetheless, they provide us with great free entertainment. We also still have one kitten left over from Pancha’s batch too.

(This is the one kitten we have left that's living on our balcony along with her mom, Pancha)

(The babies like to sleep in the plants where it's nice and cool)

(Mama Kitty (Micha) sleeping in the plants while her kittens sleep behind)

That’s about all we know for now. Please be praying for our car...it has started making some funny noises and we know it could use some mechanical intervention. All the cobblestone streets, our hill, and the dirt roads out at the dump make for rough conditions for a car.

Thanks for your continued prayers and for checking in!

Joel and Leslie