Life is, indeed, very good.

Life is, indeed, very good.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

pitching in...

Here are some more pictures of project work. Over the last two weeks, Tim has taken one of the kids at a time to help him. But on Saturday, we all got to pitch in a little together and take some pics. I wish there were more pictures of the work projects and some of the guys Tim has been working with, but we have been on different parts of the mountain most of the time. Or I've been in town, and he's been at El Monte....I usually have the camera, too. Anyway, we were able to capture a few shots. The kids have had a blast riding the quad and riding all over camp in the backs of the trucks, and they've had a good time helping out when they can. Peter's favorite job was doing dishes at our house! I hope he remembers that at home! :)

I have really struggled here with not having many "jobs" to do....or a specific purpose to accomplish while I'm here. But I've learned that part of the intention was for us to get a feel for what it's like to be a missionary family. I know two weeks is only a tiny taste, but I feel so privileged to have gotten this taste. We have LOVED just hanging out and talking with the families here...the Wilsons, the Somervilles, and the Mitchells (there are other staff families that aren't on site at the moment)...Ezekiel and Carolina....Lisa, G, Josh...and hearing their stories of how they ended up at El Monte. Each one is different, really. I tend to put them on a pedestal and assume that they don't have family issues, or that their kids don't fight, or that they have had a perfectly easy time giving up the comforts or conveniences of home. But of course they have struggles just like I do, and realizing that face to face has broken down some of the intimidation I feel even as a short-termer. I've learned that it's not about courage, bravery, or adventurousness (althought those things help, I'm sure :), but about obedience.

I'm not sure if I'll post again before we get home. Today is Sunday, and in a few minutes we'll leave for church. After church we're going to Cuernavaca to experience the tourist market, which will probably take the rest of the day. Tomorrow, Tim will work and wrap things up at the maintenance shop. The kids and I will clean the house and get packed...say our goodbyes. There is talk about watching the Bears/Packers game at G and Josh's house in town after the Monday night prayer meeting? We'll see if we can get everything packed before then! :) We have to leave before the crack of dawn Tuesday morning to catch the bus in Cuernavaca to Mexico City..then fly home.

One thing I'm anxious to blog about when I have more time to think is the people here. I haven't taken too many pictures around town because it really isn't appropriate. But I would like to give you a picture of what life in Ticuman is more on that later...

specific prayer requests...
-for Tim to wrap up his work and hopefully help map out some plans for upcoming projects
-for a group of men from Ticuman who come to El Monte to work every day... On Wednesdays, they are offered to spend their last hour on the clock with Ed Somerville in Bible study
-for safe travels home

Thanks for checking in.....we'll see you soon!

Love, Teri

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hey everyone! I realized I haven't blogged much about the actual work taking place here at El Monte! You were probably wondering if we were getting anything done! :) These pictures are of Tim and the kids at the "bathhouse". This is basically just that - a bath house with sinks and showers near the soccer fields. Tim is working on getting numerous buildings wired and ready to go, and then the wire can be pulled later. He's also working on sort of mapping out an electrical plan for the many many buildings in the plans. I don't have very many pictures of the work projects because the camp is much more spread out than I expected, and I have no transportation to get around. I hope to get a chance to follow Tim around a little more so we can get some good shots of all the progress. But he pretty much works all day every day on the buildings and comes back to the house dirty and exhausted! He's having a great time working with the staff and is learning lots of Spanish, as some of the workers are from Ticuman.

The other picture above is of garden hose sticking out of a concrete hose is what is used for conduit! Yep!

Before we came, we were warned that some days the plans go out the window because something else will go wrong, and things take much longer than planned. Tim is finding this out! On Tuesday, the whole mountain lost one phase of it's power. So everyone's lights, appliances, etc were waning in and out of power. Tim ran around on the four-wheeler most of the day trying to figure it out and at least get refrigerators and freezers working. That wasn't part of the plan, but it had to be done! (And I don't think he minded all the off-roading on the four-wheeler, either).

Another example of plans going awry happened on Monday night, when the water supply pipe to one of the toilets in our house broke! There was a mirror which fell behind the toilet, and basically guillotined the supply pipe. You can imagine the water....Tim and Ed Somerville (the other family on the mountain) searched for a shut-off, DUG for a no avail. The house was built with NO shut-off valve. They called Ezekiel, and the three of them finally found a shutoff up at the offices and apartments...which meant the offices and apartments also had their water shut off. Thankfully, there was a drain in the bathroom, so the water didn't flood the house. But it was still a crazy mess. The next day, everyone said that things like that are par for the course and that something similar happened just a couple of weeks ago! One of the staff told Tim that you know you're having a good day at El Monte if you have power, water, AND internet! Anyway, the pipe was fixed and everything is back to normal. "Normal" is becoming something completely new. :) Whew. Oh, and did I mention that the next night there was a tarantula in our shower?

The kids and I have spent the week at the MK "school", which is a house in town that El Monte rents. A great college grad named Lisa works with the kids here at the school, helps them with their work, and plans lots of activities for them. Our kids have LOVED doing P.E. with her! I've gotten to work with the kids learning some songs....they LOVE doing four part harmony and pick it up super quick. And a couple of the girls have wanted to do some voice lessons. They are some great kids! It has been great to get to know these missionary kids and find that kids are matter where in the world they are! They have shared their fun, creativity, and friendship with us.....and also skills on how to pick up tarantulas and gila monsters!

Our days left here are becoming fewer. Although it will be good to be home, there will be much missed here at El Monte. I know that there are things I've learned here that have changed me...not all easy lessons, for sure!

Thanks again for checking in....miss you all!

Love T

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Janie's perspective at El Monte

These rectangle thingies with pink stripes happen to be pieces of candy. Half of the candy here has chili in it - that red one tastes sort of like a de-flavored fruit rollup!

Hello everybody!!!! This is Janie giving a couple of updates. Above is me (when I was sick on Sunday) and an adorable little dog named Chizpa (Sparky)! Today we haven't uploaded any pictures, so we'll have to deal with boring words:). Our family (except for Dad) went to the "schoolhouse" with the other MK's. It was awesome! The girls all learned a Swahili song from mom and harmonized. Also we went to p.e. and played soccer, AND threw each other up in the air with sheets! Peter Wilson caught a type of lizard that is 1 of 2 species of poisonous lizards IN THE WORLD! It was about two ft. long, a whopper to us, probably a mouse to them! We've gone to some very authentic eatery, such as a taco stand on the side of the road with a bunch of stray dogs in our faces - plus a Mexican soap opera going on in the back round. We have come across at least 50 stray dogs in the streets - some in not very good condition:(. Last night we had a "mini flood". There is a full length mirror sitting on top of the toilet that fell behind it, causing the supply pipe to break! This was about 10:45 p.m. and we're calling people to help, trying to keep all of the gushing water inside the bathroom with towels and a squeegee, and trying to get to bed at a decent hour - WHEW! It's all fixed now. We'd better get going home before we get eaten alive!!!!!!! Goodnight, all!

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Friends

Here are the kids playing at the Wilson's house with the Mitchell boys (missionary kids from the states), and Tito, who lives with his parents at El Monte (Tito is hanging from the tree....his parents are pictured at the bottom)

Paul and I are talking with Hermana (sister) Geno (pronounced "Hayno"..short for Genovieve)...she is lots of fun and we have her on video singing at the Independence Day celebration

This is David Mitchell, whose boys are in the first pic...he and his family are from the states, and he is in charge of the many construction projects on can tell he's all business. :)

Pictured here is Roxanne Wilson and Carolina (Tito's mom)...Carolina and Ezekiel (pictured below with Tim) live on site at El Monte. Carolina makes beautiful embroidered of which I got to keep!

Tim and Ezekiel....every Sunday night, the Wilsons have friends from their church over to play volleyball. We had a great time hanging out with everyone. Ezekiel is a super nice guy!

Hurricane Karl seems to have passed by with not too much damage.... a little flooding in the valley but no power outages or anything too serious. Whew! This week will be a little more structured...last week was kind of crazy with the Independence Day celebrations and getting ready for a weekend of campers. So Tim is hard at work, the kids and I are getting some school done, and we'll join the other MKs T/W/TH for their joint school time. The MKs want to learn some new songs, so we'll do some singing together...they are also going to help me translate some of our favorite worship songs into Spanish. This week we'll also get to do some "errands" in Ticuman, which will be very different than shopping at Walmart in the bigger city. I'm really looking forward to that!

That's all for now...we are about to hike down to the construction sites to take pictures and lend a hand...I am making sure my camera battery is charged this time!

Love to you all!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday morning...

a few more photos for you.....

It is Sunday morning, and a few Hurricane Karl clouds are passing away. Lots of rain and wind the last two nights, but nothing terrible and no loss of power! Whew! Our house is up the mountain a little from where the campers are, and there is a very large church group from Mexico City here this weekend. The sound of their outdoor worship services float up to us, and it's wonderful to hear! Many of the songs we recognize. We got to spend the afternoon in town yesterday with the Mitchell family (on staff at El Monte) at their house. I'm glad we've gotten to spend time in town. They have 9 and 11 year old boys (instant fun for our boys) and three teenage girls. We got to hear their story of how they ended up at El Monte. Everyone's story is different, but God is certainly calling many people here for very specific purposes! (They have lots more specific needs, too.....anyone interested?)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

an electrician's dream (or nightmare?)

These pics were not taken at El Monte, but along the roadside a little distance from Ticuman. Everyone wanted Tim to see it! :)

I went to take pictures of the guys working on the buildings yesterday, but when we got down there my camera battery was dead. So we'll try again today. The house where we're staying is on the upper part of El Monte near the offices and the other family who lives on the mountain. It's a good hike to the cabins, the soccer field, and the construction areas. We either take the road, which is kind of an indirect route, or go how the crow flies through a shortcut path (I'm using the term path loosely here :) which involves tall growth, rocks, chiggers, and other native "friends". :) We've tried both, and I have to say I like the road a little better. :)

Hurricane Karl is supposed to pass over us today. We had heavy rain last night but didn't lose power, for which I am thankful! It's making it cloudy and cool, though, which is kind of nice. Janie says she hopes we lose power because she thinks that will be cozy. Umm.....I don't know about that!

Thanks for checking in with us. There is so much to share!

That's all for now. We're off to check on the workers!

Love, Teri


We're making lots of new friends! (shiver.....)

Friday, September 17, 2010

These first few photos are of the celebration Wednesday night at the church, which is called "Mount of Olives". Wednesday night was the eve of Mexican Independence Day. They celebrate the "eve" because that is when Hidalgo gathered the people into the church to organize the revolution against the Spaniards, crying out "Viva Mexico!!". (I think I have that right...) So after the church service was a huge party...everyone dressed in traditional clothing...tables set up with all different kinds of food...tacos, tostadas, tamales, jello (very popular here), and a sort of thick drink made out of corn and chocolate...reminded me a little of Malt-O-Meal. Also corn on the cob, on a stick, spread with mayonnaise, chili powder, and cheese. Um, different. :) Anyway, this photo is of El Monte staff member known as "G" smashing a hollowed out egg filled with confetti and flour, over one of the boys' heads. The egg thing is a tradition of Independence Day. Needless to say, we're still getting flour out of our hair! :)

At the celebration, LOTS of people got up and sang songs! There was also a contest to see who could shout "Viva Mexicoooooooo" and hold it the longest!

Kerra Wilson, Tim and Joe enjoying some DELICIOUS food, drink, and of course, Coca Cola!

This is a view of the town of Ticuman from a high point at El Monte. We spent a few minutes praying for the people in the valley. Between El Monte and the people at the Mount of Olives church (which is situated sort of up the hill on the other side of the valley) there is a fervent passion to make the Gospel known. At the church service on Wednesday, the pastor made the connection as they celebrated political freedom...that there is a need for spiritual freedom as well...libre! Mexico's history is wrought with "being conquered", and this permeates the culture in many ways I never realized. God has placed very passionate people here to share freedom in Christ.

Pictured here is G, David Mitchell, Paul Wilson, and Tim heading off to figure out some electrical issues.....holding up their coffee cups (real or otherwise...)

We are expecting hurricane Karl to pretty much pass right over us, which may mean loss of power and internet for a while. Hopefully not! If so, we'll be in our little house on the mountain with a few candles and hopefully not too many critters! By the way, we had a visit at our house by a tarantula to come.

Your prayers have been felt, because today I feel so much more at home and ready to dive into El Monte! Thank you so much!

Love, Teri

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This picture was taken on Tuesday as we had our orientation at El Monte. We're sitting on a rock that overlooks a big drop off.....I was VERY nervous that one of the kids was going to fall right over. There have been LOTS of moments in the last three days that have tested my "mom-sense", and I've had to let go a lot. El Monte is so much bigger than I had in my's literally a whole mountain. I guess that's why it's called El Monte! :) So after getting in late Monday night, having orientation on Tuesday morning...just after lunch Tim went right to work on the electrical issues, the boys joined some of the kids for P.E., and Janie and I went with Roxanne for a grocery trip. So we jumped right in to figuring out money, what we needed for two weeks, what we could get in Mexico that we would normally use at home, etc. The WalMart (where they do their big shopping trips) is an hour away, so the trip took about four hours. Other small trips are made here in town at the little storefronts. On the way there and back, we got to just take in the towns, houses, people, and dwellings. I did not realize how very different it would be.

So Tuesday was work and groceries. A little bit of carsickness and a bit of being overwhelmed by the necessity of looking for scorpions under pillows before bed. Lots of adjusting! :)

Wednesday, Tim went to work...the kids and I stayed at the house and did a little spring cleaning. We took a hike around the mountain and got our bearings a little. We were in for a huge dose of culture Wednesday night. Today (Thursday) marks the bicentennial celebration of Mexican Independence Day. So they have HUGE celebrations the night before as well. The Wilson's church in Ticuman had a special service (hopefully we'll be able to share video), and then a huge party that lasted until midnight! TONS of homemade food, singing, contests.....there is a tradition of filling drained eggshells with flour and confetti and smashing them over everyone's heads! The boys LOVED that! It was a blast! My favorite part? Singing praise songs at the church service...we could follow along pretty well with the Spanish words on the overhead (the first song was "Come, Now is the time to worship"!)...the people at their church SING THEIR HEARTS OUT! It was awesome!

So today we woke up early to get to town at 8am for the parade and festivities. We learned so much about the people and culture, and also the spiritual culture here. I really can't explain how much my eyes have been opened....more about that later. Then we had lunch with the staff at El Monte and Tim went back to work.

So that's kind of the basic update. I will have to wait until later (i.e. when I'm not listening for squirrely boys getting into mischief :) to go into more detail of what we're learning about the camp and it's vision to reach this valley....what the spiritual needs are. I have to admit that the adjustment has been WAY harder than I expected! But God is teaching me a LOT...about the world, about His people, and about myself. And He doesn't promise that it will be easy! :) But we are being stretched, we are learning, and we feel PRIVILEGED to be here. I can't tell you what a privilege it is to be here. It has been so great to get to know all the staff and how they all work together. It is a huge vision here at El Monte, and God is providing every step of the way.

If you would like specific prayer requests, here are a few:
-Tim has a long list of jobs, and he'll have to scrap much of his U.S. electrical ways...
-pray for me to not be too worried about scorpion stings, etc. I've had a harder time with this than I expected....and overall "getting our bearings" post I will do lots of pictures and captions, I hope!

We miss you all and can't wait to share in person!

Love, Teri

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We're in MEXICO!!

Hola, Amigos! Buenos Dias from El Monte Mexico! It is Tuesday morning, and we're getting a tour of the camp. Everything went smoothly on the way here...they inspected a few bags on both ends, but nothing scary. With all the tools and electrical materials, I was worried that we would put up all kinds of red flags, but all in all it went pretty smoothly. The biggest hangup in the inspections? Janie's sewing scissors she brought so she could make friendship bracelets! Go figure! :) After we landed in Mexico City, we rode a very nice bus (complete with movie - Ice Age en Espanol, of course) over a mountain pass and back down to the city of Cuernavaca. Wow. Driving through Mexico City and all the small villages on the mountain was an eye opening experience! We had supper in Cuernavaca and then drove another hour to El Monte. We are staying in a house that belongs to another missionary family who is on furlough. It was after dark when we got there, so it was a little daunting to drive up the mountain on a narrow dirt road to our house...completely surrounded by trees. There were two "critters" greeting us when we got there...scorpions! One of which was under Peter's bed! So we had to do some coaxing to get him in his bed last night. And I must admit amidst the exhaustion, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. But when we woke up and looked out the window off the side of the mountain and over the! We are excited to get moving! So today we're getting an orientation, and this afternoon the boys are going to work already! Janie and I will be going grocery shopping with Roxanne.

Here we go!

Everyone is waiting for me to get moving, so more later......and pictures! Love to you all!

Friday, September 10, 2010

El Monte here we come!

LISTS! They are taped to the wall in various places in my house and scribbled in various spiral notebooks. I'm a very visual person, so I need things taped to the wall in order for me to see/remember them. I am trying a "book" type of calendar instead of a wall calendar this year.....terrible idea for me. I might as well not have one because it never occurs to me to look at it. Anyway, I digress... Yes, I needs lots of lists in order to get the six of us ready for our trip to camp El Monte. We are bringing a ridiculous amount of luggage....

...believe me, that photo is just the tip of the iceberg! But some of what we're packing is tools and electrical material that Tim could get much cheaper here in the U.S. than in Mexico - even though there is a Home Depot about an hour away from El Monte. We're also packing some items for the missionary families there. I've got one more day to fit everything in the bags and weigh them to make sure they're not too heavy, etc. Your prayers for smooth sailing through the airports and customs would be MUCH appreciated!

We are so excited to go, although there are lots of unknowns about what it will be like to be there! So we're trying to have no expectations and just roll with it. We know we'll be staying in a home on the camp property that belongs to another missionary family on furlough. One other missionary family lives on the camp property and two others live in town. I'm very glad to know we'll have "neighbors". Who speak English! We've been trying to learn a little Spanish, but I know it will be WAY different than the Rosetta Stone lady who speaks nice and slowly! So we are prepared to be unprepared and ROLL WITH IT! "Flexico" is the word we were told, I believe. (?)

I could go on forever about what an experience this has been...even just the preparation. It has stretched me and humbled me. Wow, has it humbled me. It has been so fun to have friends and family support us in so many ways and be excited to share in the experience with are just a few of the ways people have gotten involved:
-some friends from church had Janie babysit to earn money towards the trip
-lots of people donated items to our garage sale
-cookies donated to sell in our bake sale
-a friend gave us two bags of really nice work gloves
-our cats will be in good hands (not Dave Huntley's hands, though - even though he "offered" :)
-we have received some backpacks and small kid-sized suitcases
-a dinner the night before we leave so I don't have to cook and do dishes (woot!)
-monetary contributions
-encouragement, encouragement, encouragement.

We know we're going to El Monte to help with building projects, but I know God has much more than that in store. Wow.

I hope to post updates here, but I don't know how frequently I'll be able to. If all else fails, we'll take tons of pictures and post them when we return.

I wish you all could come, too! (Hmm.....maybe next summer? :)

love, T