Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mexico: Part 2

Friday, March 10 (6:55 p.m. CST / 7:55 p.m. EST)

¡Estamos sobre México!

Soon before we landed in Houston, Ken struck up a conversation with the young woman sitting next ot him. Se llama Tracy. She was returning home to Houston. Ken le dio una tarjeta de

We only had half an hour before boarding the plane, so we quickly grabbed some food and made our way to the gate. In Houston they give all announcements in both English and Spanish.

(It was just announced we are passing over Monterrery, Mexico. 7:05)

We have been gradually introduced to a more Spanish-speaking environment. I am sure most of the folks on this flight to León are Mexicanos. Our flight attendant is bilingual and gives all announcements in English and Spanish.

The sunset was beautiful from up here, and the mountains are also an interesting contrast to Texas' flatness.

About the time I finished that last entry, I was beginning to feel funny in my stomach. Nevertheless the flight went well and we landed in León about 7:25 p.m.

When we stepped off the plane I was amazed that the temperature was so warm, even after dark. We picked up our luggage and passed through customs without event. We easily met up with Brenda Landrum, who took us to their Ford Explorer, where we greeted Craig and loaded in our luggage. In the car was Marshall, the fellow I was to stay with at Cuco and Nancy's house. We talked and got to know one another on the drive to the house.

Nancy and Cuco have one son, Josue [Spanish for Joshua], who is 17. None of them know enough English to converse and Marshall doesn't know Spanish, so I am the translator! It's a demanding job, but one I am willing to do.

Josue made each of us an alacrán, scorpion, out of copper wire—a technique he learned from a classmate. They are amazing works of art!

We stayed up until 11:30 and I was very tired and my back was sore from the plane ride. As a result, I slept little. My stomach upset at 3:30 in the morning, whereupon I began to feel better, though I still slept little.

Saturday morning, Nancy called Brenda Landrum and told her how I was, and Brenda recommended I not eat much at all—be cautious.

This was the day of the leaders' meeting, and there were missionaries from around the area and Mexican elders as well, and others who came, I think, for fellowship. This get-together took place on the West side of León, where the West León church meets. I thought the day was a little chilly, so I had long pants on and wore my jacket most of the day.

Marshall spied some boods some of the children brought about dinosaurs,a nd he wanted to engage in a defense of Genesis (for the book was evolutionary). Using me as translator, he spoke to Josue and another young man, Chuy, about some evidences, both scientific and Biblical, for a young earth and the coexistence of men and dinosaurs.

It was nice to meet and get to know the others of the Emmaus group: Willie, Ryan A., Scott, Caleb, Amy, Beth, Emily, and Celina. Celina converses easily in Spanish and Scot is quite good (probably like Ken and me); otherwise everyone speaks little.

Mexico: Part 1

Well, it's about time I began writing about the trip to Mexico, so I'll start with what I wrote in my journal on the journey.

Friday, March 10 (about 3 pm, EST)

Esto es el viaje a México para ayudar a los Landrums.

Last night was spent packing and finishing preparation for the trip. This morning, before Dad left for work he prayed for us and the whole week down in Mexico. At 8:25 Mom drove us down totheh Stratford train station to pick up the 9:06 train. She had heard there was heavy traffic on Route 8 in Derby/Shelton, but when we got there, nothing slowed us down. At the time, I was worried we would be late for our train, but Ishouldl have trusted the Lord—clear sailing! How gracious He is that He blesses us in spite of immaturity.

We waited about ten minutes for the train, hugged Mom goodbye, and stepped in Three rows to our right was a row with two available seats. Ken stowed our luggage on the rack and we sat down, our bags at our feet. The ride to New York City was pleasant and took an hour and a half. The last ten minutes or so was underground, entering Grand Central Station. I never knew that trains arriving there ended underground.

Exiting the train, I clipped the pull-strap to my suitcase, then we headed for the station—or the lobby, or plaza! I don't know what to call a room that large with so lofty a ceiling! I thought to take pictures of the room, but it's immensity could not be captured by so smalllensnse. Ken pointed out we had to catch the 10:40 bus, so I abandoned the idea completely.

We exited the edifice onto the streets of New York. I would have loved to go sightseeing bobviouslysly that is an activity for another time. The bus we needed to catch was just leaving so we boarded the next one, the 10:50. This took us directly to LaGuardia airport.

We found the counter for Continental Airlines and checked our bags, confirmed our seats, and headed toward the security checkpoint. We passed without incident. After finding our gate, we bought a lunch of wraps (Southwest Tuna!). That was about 11:45 a.m. Our boarding was around 1:00 p.m., so we talked in a mixture of Spanish and English while we waited. It was interesting to hear several others who were waiting speaking Spanish. Perhaps they are taking the same route to León (via Houston).

The time to board came at last and we were grateful to get out of the heat. Though it's only March, when we left home it was 51 degrees F and the airport was hot. The airplane, however, is much cooler. We are now cruising at 38,000 feet, clouds and cities far below.

Takeoff was fascinating, for never had I gone so fast before! The airport was whizzing by and within a minute we were pointing towards the sky. I found the G forces of climbing, banking, and leveling off a bit disconcerting, but once I told myself to relax, I felt good. It was delightful to see New York shrinking below us and the cards turning imovingoing specks. It was partly cloudy for a while, so generally I didn't see groundroun, but more recently (3:10) there has been a fair view of the ground.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


A week and a half ago, I wrote about downtime, a period of time in which business was slow. Well this week it's been the opposite, especially today. A huge order for engraved signs came in yesterday afternoon, so the engraver's been running all day long, turning out 46 signs (about 600 characters total!). I've begun work on a logo design for a new construction company, which has been testing my illustrating skills and taxing my patience for going over my time budgeted for it.

Speaking of taxes, I finished figuring my taxes this year. Praise the Lord I don't have much to pay! It was fun figuring it all by myself for the first time, though I did occasionally have to consult with Ken and Mom.

The other thing on my mind today is the fact that all this stuff needs to get done before Friday morning, which is when I'm leaving for Mexico.

Ken and I are traveling to Leon in the center of Mexico to work with a missionary family there and a group of students from Emmaus Bible College. Much of what will our role be is still unknown to me, but I know that if I obey the Lord and stay close to Him, I will not be shaken.

How wonderful is our Lord! It´s astounding to think that we have the power of the One who made the world and the sun and the hurricanes and the mighty forces of nature on our side to strenthen us and conform us to His own image!

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
"For your sake we are bing put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Blog Needs Pictures

It's a known fact that people are more likely to read something if the text is interrupted by pictures. It's also nice to see photographs people have taken and posted on their blogs. I hereby join that crowd. Here's a picture of a bee I took two and a half years ago. Enjoy!

Monday, March 06, 2006

New Definition of "Bad Day"

In the past years, having a "bad day" meant things were not going like I expected them to, were not easy, and/or kept going wrong. But now, being a few years older, with a little more spiritual growth having occurred (thanks be to God alone), I have found a new definition of a "bad day."

Today was one of those. I kept working at what I was supposed to, starting a logo design, finalizing another, making a few plastic signs, and working a little on my promotional brochure, but by the end of working hours, I felt like I do when I waste a day. Why was this? I did not in spirit commune with my beloved Father in heaven. The day was not horrible, nor would I say full of forfeited peace, but it just wasn't right.

A bad day is a day spent without devotion to the Lord.

I am reminded of the words of Joe Zichterman (sung by Mac Lynch & Tim Fisher) in the song "One Needful Thing"
With my whole heart I beseech Thee to behold Thy glory, Lord.
May we learn to wait and worship at Thy throne.
We are cumbered with much service; may we cast our cares on Thee
As we go into our closets there to meet with Thee alone.

That one needful thing, that one needful thing,
As the sacrifice of praise we humbly bring.
As Thine own peculiar treasure, created for Thy pleasure,
May we not forget that one needful thing.

When Thou sayest, "Seek Me early," Thy face, Lord, will I seek;
For Thou art my soul's exceeding great reward.
While abounding in Your service, may men's record of us be
That we've spent much time in secret in the presence of our Lord.
I am learning just how much prayer and communion with God is "one needful thing."

Friday, March 03, 2006

More on Numbers 11:1a

The reason it says they became like those who complain of adversity is that their circumstances were not adverse! Though the complaint against the manna starting in verse 2 is not what verse 1 refers to, we can see they had nothing to complain about with just cause. They had miraculous food and water and their clothes did not wear out. Their circumstances were not adverse, abut they complained. Thus the anger of the Lord was kindled.

Lately, I have found myself complaining as though I am in adversity. Really, it's been all my fault that I have bad days and felt unfulfilled. I have not been in close fellowship with the Lord and that throws off my entire day. Seeking fulfillment in other things that are normally fun does not result in true fulfillment. Thus I have complained to the Lord as though in adversity. But really I am more like the prodigal son, trying to find pleasure apart from the Father. That doesn't work! I gladly return home where He provides all the pleasures and fulfillment I need (Luke 15, Psalm 16:11).

In contrast to the Israelites complaining like those in adversity, David complained when in adversity, where it was appropriate: Psalm 55:2-3,16-17
Give heed to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted,
Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the pressure of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me,
And in anger they bear a grudge against me.

As for me, I shall call upon God,
And the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmer,
And He will hear my voice.

When truly burdened by something, we ought to "complain" about it to the Lord: Psalm 55:22, 2 Peter 5:7
Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

Thoughts on Numbers 11:1a

Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord"

This "became like those" implies they were neither supposed to nor expected to complain, moreover that it was a low thing for them to do. The Israelites saw countless miracles, were being fed miraculous, heavenly food, were being led by the glory of God Himself every day, and now they became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord.

Let us beware lest we too become like those who complain of adversity. We have no need to do so.

Psalm 33:1-4
Sing for joy in the Lord...
Give thanks to the Lord...
Sing praises to Him...
Sing to Him...
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

For the word of the Lord is upright; and all His work is done in faithfulness.

Faithfulness. The continual result of the will to love. The day-to-day action giving proof to the undying will to love.

The Lord loves us and therefore is faithful to us. All that He does is good, for it comes from His love and faithfulness to us. THEREFORE, why should we ever become like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord? Sing praises to Him and rest in the faithfulness of God. When you don't feel like resting, trust that He is faithful and rest in that! He will work all things for our good because He loves us, whether circumstances themselves are good or bad. (Romans 8:28, Hebrews 12:1-13)

"In everything give thanks" I Thessalonians 5:18