November & December 2007

December is here, and Christmas is in the air!  At least it is at our house, thanks to the Christmas music I enjoy having on all day long.  One of my favorite days of the year is the day after Thanksgiving… that’s when the decorations all come out!

The first few days of November were exciting for us.  A dear friend of ours, Rick Walkey, called and said he has some land about an hour and a half from here that he would like to donate for ministry.  We were excited about that, as we could think of several things right off the bat that it would be great for!  The first of which is a sort of base for the work we do out in the Zoque jungle.  This place is right on the way!  The idea of us building a house and moving there ourselves has also been mentioned.  We would appreciate your prayers as we try and determine what would be the best use of this property, and how to go about it.

On the 9th of November, Nathan and a couple other guys visited the Zoques and delivered more water filtration systems.  That trip went well, though it was a little shocking to see the mudslide destruction.  Nathan took some pictures of a few boys who were literally chopping up the remains of their house for firewood.

Also in November, Amin Jimenez visited twice and was able to finish the translation of a new Bible study into Zoque. It is now in revision and we are hoping to have it ready in February. We will make it available in audio and written formats so that folks who can’t read will be able to study as well. Another project that Nathan and Amin worked on was recording a short sermon taken from the book of John in Zoque. They hope to use this when they go into homes with the filter systems.

With the October rain came a lot of flooding.  You may have seen it on the news or heard it on the radio… the most severe was in the capital city ofTabasco … Villa Hermosa.  We know this city well, as we have a dear friend there.  Several factors combined made for some very serious flooding issues.  At one point, flood waters reached 18 feet in some parts of Villa Hermosa.  Even here in our state, several villages were washed away or buried by mudslides.  If you are interested in seeing pictures of the disaster, click here.  The last week of November, Nathan led a group of volunteers out to a village just outside of Villa Hermosa.  As it was a ways off the beaten path, these people did not have the advantage of military help coming in with assistance or food.  As you can imagine, they were grateful for some help!  The whole week before the trip, Nathan spent out in the garage building a kitchen on wheels.  It has 4 burners hooked up to a gas tank, a big cage thing for pots, pans and equipment, a secure spot for a large cooler, and several water filtration systems.  It was a ton of work, but that thing will come in so handy for future trips as well!  One of the first needs the gang saw was for flannel sheets since it is winter here too.  So they handed out 260 adult flannel sheets and 196 baby blankets.  Another huge problem is the massive swarms of mosquitoes!  So they distributed ½ ton of lye for the people to spread on mosquito breeding areas. Every family also received one mosquito net, a bag of veggies, soap, Clorox, beans, rice, pasta. 5 Lts of clean water, 1kg. of tortillas, and the ladies in our group fitted many people with donated clothing.  In the end, the trip was very successful, but we also realized that it only began to scratch the surface.  The needs out in that part of the country are enormous and rather overwhelming.  Several of you contributed funds for this trip, and we are so grateful for that!  We would ask that you keep the people of these devastated areas in your prayers. There is a second group that came from the Mexico City area that worked in the same villages over the last couple weeks. Our dear friend Dr. Ramiro led this trip with three other doctors. They provided medical care and distributed more supplies.  The cook trailer stayed there with them, along with the left-over materials from Nathan’s trip.

So now we are half-way through December.  I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get this update out!  It really is startling how time just gets away from us down here.  As long as we’re at it, we may as well tell you about December so far!  With Nathan being gone and very busy lately, some things at home have been a little neglected.  For example, the mold that is spreading across my bathroom ceiling!  Ick!!!  So December has held some home-improvement time for us.  Scraping the paint off the ceiling, killing the mold, re-painting the bathroom… fun stuff like that!  Nathan’s family have decided to put what they had in savings into a Caterpillar skid steer… it’s a small tractor. Peter and Renee are at the border bringing it home right now. It will be very useful in the development of the new land in San Fernando , and in the continued development of the family business. To say the least, Nathan is very excited. The last several days, he has spent most of his time finishing the new garage outside our house. It will be used for tractor and auto repairs, as well as the production shop for the water filtration units that the guys have been installing in the villages. (See Pure Water Project)

The rest of December will be more of the same, plus Nathan’s birthday celebration, and Jesus’ birthday celebration!  We will write again the first of Feb. to tell you about January’s adventures.  There are bound to be several… never a dull moment around here!  We are looking forward to Gabi’s first Christmas and Cloe’s third.  It is such a joy to have these two precious little girls to light up our house and keep us on our toes.  As always, you can check our website for the latest pictures of everything going on here.

Have a blessed Christmas and fun New Years!  We will be praying for you, and appreciate your continued prayers for us as we enter 2008.

God bless, Julie