Wow, how to summarize our week so far? It's been hard for us to keep up with the blog because we have been so busy, and the internet connection hasn't always cooperated. I will try to summarize some of our experiences.
Saturday: As you probably have heard, it snowed all day in Chicago and our flight was delayed. It kept changing but eventually we took off a few minutes before midnight Chicago time (we were scheduled to take off at 6:39). There were a bunch of flights that were cancelled so there were long lines of people trying to get their flights changed so they could get to their destination. We finally got to bed around 4:30 AM local time, 6:30 AM Fort Wayne time :(.
Sunday: We were supposed to go to two church services on Sunday. One in the morning in El Paso at a large church that seats ~3500 and then one in the afternoon in Guadalupe, Mexico. Since we got in so late, we skipped the morning service and went to the one in Mexico in the afternoon. What a joy to worship with them even tho we could understand very few words. Their worship band was great and they did several songs that we knew. However, we all found it very difficult to remember the English words as they were singing the Spanish version. Afterwards we went to the orphanage and Steve Brewer gave us a tour and shared his vision for the orphanage in it's finished version. He said it is 90% complete but the opening will just depend on groups continuing to "put hands to the work".
Monday & Tuesday: Several people have shared some of the things we have done, so I will just add a few comments. It takes about 30 minutes for us to get to the orphanage from the "Outpost". The road the last few miles is a winding, bumpy, washboarded, potholed dirt road. We take 3 vans which are usually driven by Quinn, Duane, and Tom (from New Jersey). Tuesday night on the way back in the dark and mud (it had rained and snowed that day) we had a flat tire so had to pile 40 people in two 15 passenger vans in order to cross the border and get back to the Outpost. Our worship in the mornings after breakfast and before devotions has been awesome! The food has been great (homemade salsa, red and green, is to die for). The snow on Tuesday morning was surreal.
Wednesday: Quite a bit has been said so again just a few comments. The market was basically empty. Quinn said all the other groups that used to come to this market have stopped and they are the only group coming. Many vendors spoke good English and fun to interact with. The S Mart where we bought the rest of the food for Mercy Day was impressive. One of the more popular things for the locals were the homemade tortillas. They were right inside the front door and they had a machine they put the dough in and the finished tortillas came out the other end. They were being sold as quickly as they were being made. On the journey from Juarez to Mercy Day our van got very quiet as we witnessed some violence alongside the road. Three men were being beat up for what reason we're not quite sure. Quinn and his wife Lisa said that is the first time they have seen something like that. What a blessing to be able to give out ~40lbs of food to needy families! I don't think anyone went home empty-handed which is what we prayed for. I can almost see and hear the sounds as we circled up afterwards to pray. The sunset was absolutely beautiful, the full moon was coming up, we were praying as Duane, Steve B, Abbey (Tappestries staff member) and Steve B laid hands on a local pastor and blessed him with an offering we had taken up. I will always remember the children as they came thru the line. Katrina and I were down towards the end handing out crayons. We had to pry open their bags in order to put in our gifts because they kept dropping stuff as they despartely tried to clutch on to them without putting them into the bag.
Thursday: It was a sunny day probably in the low 50s. On the way to the orphanage we stopped at TOL warehouse and Steve showed us the 5390 lb. Amethyst gemstone that will eventually go in the foyer of the orphanage - beautiful!
It has been a great week and a joy to have this opportunity with my daughter Katrina. Happy New Year! Thank you Jesus!