Raul and Me loaded up the van with yet another load of toys, clothes, house furnishings, and even a few bikes that were given to us to give away. We were supposed to get our roofing delivered today at 8am but at 10 we went to the place to pick it up because I really want to get our house under roof before it rains again. Bummer, they were closed. Oh well, be flexible I told myself I have a lot of other things to do, but they have the roofing for the two houses were building next week as well and I hope they are open on Friday. We finished a lot of other thing though, windows, door, siding, and the second loft. I made the roof a lot steeper to give us a lot of storage in the two lofts. Paula came in the afternoon and brought the Christmas presents for our friends there because she won't come with me tommorrow because she's cooking dinner for 15 so I figured I would take another load across the border. Paula and I continue to get some really lovely Christmas cards from a lot of you, so thank you so much for thinking of us, and also for the words of encouragement and financial gifts. We just recieved an offering from Moraine Valley Church, where they used the offering at Thanksgiving to bless the people in Reynosa with blankets, food and other needed essentials as well as purchase some much needed generators to build the houses with. This is the second such gift this month. Our friends that came to visit last week brought an offering collected from friends, family and a few buisnesses so we can build a few more homes for some very needy families. HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD. This has been the best year of our lives.
Now I know it's not as cold as back in Chicago, I watched the Bears last night, but I don't my long jons and turtleneck to go work in the colonia yesterday! It was about 40 degrees all day with a strong wind out of the north, by far the coldest day since we moved here. Paula, Raul and I started empting some things from the garage to take over to put in the new ministry house. We both got green lights so no problemo. Most of our friends were gone so we just started to work on the house, installing the rafters and roof purlins.Most of the work was up on the wall so it was really cold up there and soon Pastor Victors wife Erica invited Raul and me over for a cup of hot coffee. It took a while but we're ready for the roof and will do that today. Paula and some ladies emptied out our vehicles and sorted the clothes, shoes and other things. We are going to start giving clothes out tommorrow in the church and some left over packpacks from the fall. Two days to Christmas and I haven't set foot in a store all season. The Shongs called last night and arrived home to a house with no heat, so they get to experience colonia life, only a whole lot colder. Thanks again for coming and we'll see ya soon
Just as soon as the Shongs left, we called them to come back! We sure enjoyed the week that they spent here and it went all to fast. The blessed us richly and yesterday Hector and Stephanie, along with thier daughter Samantha and another friend Gracie loaded up three cars with clothes and hundreds of gifts for the children in the colonia. They arrived late in the afternoon on Sat from Houston where they attend Lakewood Church. They came here last month on a two day outreach that has changed thier lives. God has placed a new passion in thier hearts to touch the lives of those less fortunate. Paula brought them over to Mexico late yesterday where they dropped off the clothes they brought and decorated Agua Viva Curch. We were soon out of daylight so we grabbed a bite to eat and came home. Today we filled the van with all the toys and gave them all out starting at the end of the colonia and working our way back towards our house. Hundreds of children were blessed today as well as all of us playing Santa Clause. A convoy of over 40 jeeps from a club in Reynosa made quite a site rolling thru the colonia. They had a truck full of gifts also and soon rolled out of site as they headed to the east. The people from the colonia soon came walking in the direction of the convoy but returned sometime later empty handed, unable to catch the gift convoy. Yesterday a truck filled with Christmas trees brought smiles to the children as the families that got a free tree decorated them in a matter of minutes. Ahh Christmas in the colonia, not quite the hustle and bustle they get caught up in in the U.S. All 400 shoe boxes are wrapped that were given to us and ready to be delivered to all the children. Our friends left after we ate a late lunch back at our house and we are sure we'll see them again, they sure blessed a lot of people here, including us. Paula has a few days of an empty house until the house is filled on Christmas with the Kincaid family and four other missionaries coming for Christmas dinner. We still haven't finished building our house in the colonia, but we'll get it done someday, no rafters or roof yet! Bessings to all who endure my long letters.
We can't believe it's Friday already. Ron, Michelle, Major and Faith Shong are leaving today even though we put forth our best effort to get them to stay. We had a great week of ministry and fellowship and many many laughs. Yesterday we made great progress on the house after loosing two days to rain. While Ron, Raul, Beto, Carmello and me worked on getting all the siding installed, Paula, Michelle, Faith and Major visited some families and gave out food, shoes, blankets and lots of love in the colonia. We started packing up about 3pm and it took us over an hour to say good bye as the Shongs took pictures with the different families they came to know and love just like we have over the last year. We headed for Rio Bravo orphanage to visit the Kincaids and much to our suprise they were having thier Christmas program with all the children from the school and orphanage. They were all dressed up with costumes and the music of Christmas( in spanish of course) filled the air. We went out for pizza after the concert and didn't get home until 10pm. The Word of God says that your heart will always follow your money and we have been so blessed to have the Shongs here this week. They have been supporting us on a monthly basis all year and this has been thier first trip here in almost 10 years, but we know that just as Paula and I kept leaving a piece of our heart here every trip we made to Reynosa, they have left a piece of thier hearts here as well. We will miss them a lot, but we know that that will come back as soon as they can. They leave today and some friends from Houston come tommorow to spread the love of Christmas in the colonia with gifts, and blankets they collected at thier church. Raul heads to Saltillo, Mx. on a medical missions trip for two days, as we continue to prepare for our group from Moraine in ten days.
The Shongs arrived safely Sunday night and brought many blessings with them from back home. A full trailer of diapers, clothes, shoes, a generator and a portable air conditioner that will come in handy next summer. They had also collected some financial gifts to spread the love of God into our lives and the lives of the people in Mexico. Monday we spent the day in the colonia wrapping Christmas presents and painting the ministry house. What a joyfull day we had.We grilled hot dogs and enjoyed the fellowship with Ron, Michelle, Faith, Major and our friends in the colonia. When we arrived back home we got a call to come and get hundreds of pairs of shoes from another missionary with a truck load of donated shoes and clothes. When God decides to pour out His blessings, you had better get a bigger boat! The garage is now full of many different things to share with the families in Mexico. Paula made a great meatloaf dinner and we talked and laughed until Midnight. Today was a cold rainy day and we spent the day making the rounds in the colonia visiting everyone and eating floutas and drinking hot coffee. We divided up large sacks of rice and beans to be given out. We also went to the market and bought gifts and some blankets to give out. We ate dinner at La Differente' in Reynosa and after enjoying the best darn Fajitas we ever had, save the Guacamole that Ron thru back and then realized it was not guacamole and was jalapeno salsa. The resturante manager then took us to her house to leave all the blankets we bought so we didn't have to take them home and then back tommorrow. What a blessing that God bring us to eat at a place with a Christian manager and willing to help us. We will probably have dinner there on New Years Eve with the Moraine group. We have laughed a lot in the last few days and can't wait till the Shongs come and join us here forever. But we told them they will have to find thier own poor people.( just kidding) ADIOS.