Monday, May 28, 2007

The Pineapple Story

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I learn a valuable lesson from something really ordinary. This time I learned a lesson from a pineapple. Let me tell you about it.

A few weeks after we arrived here in Mexico, I was privileged to help host a tract team of young people. The 4 girls that stayed in our home were a real blessing to me and I enjoyed hosting and fixing meals for them.

However, I won’t forget the night they arrived – my friend and mentor, Collette Burch, brought them over and after helping carry in their bags, she handed me the hugest pineapple I have ever seen and said, off-handedly, “Here’s a pineapple to help with their breakfast tomorrow.” No big deal, right?

But to me, standing in the foyer of my new home, with this monster pineapple staring back at me and the prickly skin pressing into my palm, it was a big deal. To be honest (embarrassingly so), I had no idea how to get this pineapple from its “monster” condition into a nice cut-glass bowl, sitting on my breakfast table. To my mother – this is not your fault. I’m sure you showed me how to do this many times and I was distracted with which tree to climb next or which football play to draw in the dirt – I was a hopeless tomboy.

But I quickly thanked Collette with a smile and carried my pineapple to the kitchen, still wondering about a plan of action. Yes, I could have asked her for help – probably should have. But my independent nature took over and I decided to not appear helpless in yet another way in this new place, this new country….I would figure this out on my own.

So the next morning long before the girls were up, I was in my kitchen with the biggest knife I own in my hand and this massive pineapple, now chilled, sitting on the countertop. With a deep breath, I began.

Later on, as the girls expressed their delight at the delicious, incredibly sweet chunks of pineapple, I sat back with a smile and wondered – “Did I really do that right?” I wasn’t sure, but it seemed passable, anyway. A few days later, I put aside my independent, I can do this streak and asked Collette, “So how do you cut up these huge pineapples?” She very efficiently told me several rather easy steps and I compared them to the “hacking away” job I had done in my kitchen. I had done some parts of the job correctly but others, I had not. How much better if I had simply much easier it would have been to say “could you give me a couple quick pointers?”….of course, she would have done it gladly.

In how many areas of my life is God standing, waiting to help me and I independently, knife in hand, forge ahead without asking His advice? How He longs to help me, how He longs to show me the right way, His way, to deal with the circumstances I am facing, but I never slow down to ask.

Lord, forgive me. As incompetent as I was with that huge pineapple, even more incompetent am I to walk this road You’ve called me to walk. Only through Your guidance and Your instruction, do I have the ability to accomplish Your purposes in my life.

I have cut up and eaten many Mexican pineapples since that morning, and I don’t think I ever make the first slice without remembering His desire to guide and help me, if I’ll only ask.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to my Mother

Today I wish a very special Happy Birthday to my mother - I wish we could be together, but that's not possible.

Just know I am thinking of you and love you very much.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Friday, May 25, 2007

School's Out!

Yay! the boys and I finished up our second year of homeschool today - Jordan finished 6th, Cameron finished 4th and Logan finished 2nd. Are we ever happy!!??

Now, it's nothing but summer up ahead - although we've been in our summer here in Salamanca for about a month and a half - this is our hot time of the year and it sure has lived up to it's name. In the 90s every day and no A/C!! But we've survived just fine.

Our summer holds the promise of lots of wonderful stuff:

  • Visit from "Uncle John" Parker, "Papaw" Sams, Walt Hedstrom, Bennie Durr, and Monte Stetler begins tomorrow and goes through next week (yes, I still have lots to do to get ready since homeschool JUST finished today) - we can't wait to see them all!

  • Steve and Beth, Maria and Kent are moving to Texas in a little over 2 weeks - only about 10 hours from us. YAY! We've waited for so long - we're going to go see them and help them move in.

  • We're so privileged to be able to attend Pell City Camp this year - Marc's one of the evangelists - and get to spend wonderful time with family and friends; plus an extra week of taking time to be with family after camp's over.

  • Anthony and Marci and kids are coming to visit us here in Salamanca at the end of July - we are looking forward to their visit.

And more stuff that I can't think of right now...smiles...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Revival in Pedregales

Last week our Bible Methodist church in Pedregales celebrated their 16th anniversary with a set of special services in their brand new church building. Marc was invited to preach the revival and our family was invited to sing. We preached and sang in this same revival last year, but a big difference is that Marc preached in Spanish this year! He did a great job - I was so proud of him. There were altar services every night, with people earnestly seeking the Lord. The boys helped us sing and I played the piano in the services. The pastor and people had worked so hard getting this new church building ready and it looks beautiful. They were still putting in windows and electric during the days of the revival.

Another challenge for me was that the pastor, Bro. Manuel, asked me to have children's services on the weekend. He had asked me last year but I for sure wasn't ready. I didn't feel ready this year, but felt like I should accept and say yes; on one condition, if my good friend Isela would help me. She agreed and we had services for the kids on Saturday and Sunday nights. I was nervous, but the Lord helped me do my part.

We enjoyed good meals with the pastor and people during the week and on Sunday, I decided that I needed a cooking lesson. So I went into the little lean-to where the ladies were cooking the carne guisada (meat and gravy), sat down in a chair and started asking, "What is this?" "How are you cooking that?" "What kind of spice is that?", etc. The smoke from the wood fires they were cooking with burned my eyes but the smiles on the ladies' faces made up for it. They just chattered away, showing and teaching me and I loved it. I also helped them serve the plates for the guests until they realized what I was doing and quickly insisted that I sit down and eat with the guests. Proper protocol for meal serving is a big deal here.

My boys had fun running around and getting filthy. They played, renewed acquaintances with friends, and even taught some English to a few of their friends who were asking.

The crowds were too big for the church on Saturday and Sunday nights. People were standing and sitting outside, looking in the windows, etc. There was respresentation from many of our other Bible Methodist Churches and pastors in Mexico as well as the HIM church here in Salamanca and pastors, Philip and Collette Burch. Community people also attended the revival and we were blessed to visit with 2 Catholic ladies who had come to one of the services. They were commenting on Marc's message and had lots of questions about who we are as a church. They told Marc that they had never understood some things about the Bible until they had heard his message that night and thanked him for the truth he had preached to them. Those moments make it all worthwhile.

Singing: There were lots of different groups and people that also provided special music for the revival. We enjoyed it all.

It was a busy and challenging week, but also very rewarding, too. Now to get these boys done with homeschool this week and get ready for the company coming on the weekend. But that's a topic for another post.....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

1 Month Update on Braxton

I want to share an update on my nephew, Braxton Miller. I was so privileged to be able to spend a few days with him and my sister and family last week, due to our Grandpa Miller's viewing and funeral. It was a sad occasion that brought us together, but I did so enjoy spending time with my family and staying in Missy and Gerald's home. Caden is growing like a weed and is just the most adorable baby!

Back to Braxton - today marks a month since his accident took place and I must say, he is one of the bravest little boys I know anywhere. He has dealt so well with this trauma and thanks to God's touch on him and your prayers, he is doing well. Also thanks to the wonderful care he's getting from his parents.

Braxton visited his doctor today and came home with "half his cast". The hip cast is now reduced to a below the knee cast for 2 more weeks. At that time, more xrays will be taken and the cast will either be removed totally or a walking cast will be put on for a period of time. His knee is quite sore where it had been immobilized for so long - it'll be 3-4 days of pain getting it limbered up again and ready to use.

His doctor was very pleased with the amputation site. The new skin is growing so well and no skin grafts are needed - thank the Lord.

You should see him scooting around all over the place with that hip cast on - you can't keep a good man down, that's for sure! He learned how to maneuver the cast up and down off the couch and had no problems scooting wherever he wanted to go. Now he's slowed down a little with the knee soreness, but the doctor has given the okay for him to walk a little on this cast if he feels like it.

All in all, he's doing great and I expect to see him up and playing around with no problems when we visit in July! Can't wait!

Thanks again for your prayers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Irving and Logan

Logan has a really good friend here in Mexico named Irving. He is about the cutest thing you ever saw. He has an infectious laugh, of course speaks Spanish fluently (makes me really), and loves hanging around Logan. They play with and without words and doesn't seem to bother either of them at all.

Irving is the youngest son of our Bible Institute President, Eli Balderas. I wouldn't be surprised if these two are really good friends for a long, long time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

First to my mother, Jan Miller. Even though we are not together today, you're close in my heart. Thank you for your love and sacrifice and for your mothering that shaped my life. Every late night snack, every kissed skinned knee, every load of clean laundry, every lullaby sung, every prayer prayed and tear cried - thank you for everything. I realize more every day how blessed I am to have you for my mother. Your positive attitude and commitment to God and your family have influenced my life more than I can tell you. I wish you a happy Mother's Day. I love you, Mama.

Also to my mother-in-law, Janet Sankey. Many miles separate us, but then you understand that, don't you? You spent many Mother's Days away from your mother, far away on a mission field. You're close in my heart today. You have mothered the most wonderful man to be my husband - I couldn't have asked for more. Thank you for giving me your son for these almost 15 years. Your generous and loving spirit have been a wonderful example to me and I wish for you a happy Mother's Day. I love you, Mom.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Home in Heaven

This is a sad day for our family, but also a day of rejoicing. My Grandpa, Eli Miller, has gone home to be with Jesus. He is now in the presence of the One for whom he was willing to cut all family ties, for whom he was willing to leave the Amish way of life and the traditions he had been raised with. He desired more to know that he had peace with God and to set a new direction for his family. I remember Grandpa expressing on more than one occasion: "I'm not sorry that I made those decisions - if need be, I'd make them all over again."
We'll miss you, Grandpa. We love you. ~ Melodie

Saturday, May 5, 2007

BB guns

Hey, everybody. Cameron here.

While my friends Jacob and Jenna were here, we had fun shooting BB guns in the backyard. Maybe it doesn't seem like a girl thing to do, but Jenna had fun shooting, too.

Our grass is brown and ugly because we're in the dry season. The rains will start coming at the end of this month, then the grass should look better.
I can't wait until more friends and family can come to visit us here in Salamanca.

Hasta luego (see you later)...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Our May Newsletter

Good morning to you....

I have sent out our May Newsletter this morning - if you're interested and are not on our mailing list, please let me know - I will be happy to add you.

You can also visit the Bible Methodist Yahoo Group and view it at this link:
Click on Files and Missionary Newsletters.

If you're not a member, no problem - signing up is easy!

Blessings and have a happy day,

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Chiles Rellenos

A couple days ago I tried my hand at making chiles rellenos for the first time - Stuffed Chile Peppers. They are just about one of my favorite Mexican foods and since my friend, Isela, had given me a wonderful demonstration at her house complete with eating the delicious chiles to prove she's a pro, I decided to try it. Besides that, I was hungry for them.

You need to know what you're doing (which I don't) but it was fun anyway. It took me forever to make 3 stuffed peppers but the end result was worth it.
Enjoy the pics!