A Missionary Trip to Mexico
Revised and expanded: August 1, 1996 (just a few quick notes in red in this first section; more later).
by the Mark Roth Family
Running Updates (none since July 16; please stand by!)
- We had planned to leave June 18, 1996. Vehicle problems,
as well as unfinished work at school and at home, required that we postpone
our departure. We finally got left Monday, June 24th. We drove out of our
home town of Woodburn, Oregon, at 9:34 that morning.
- The round-trip driving distance is about 3500 miles.
- Our destination was Guaymas Valley in Mexico's
northwestern state of Sonora.
- We arrived there on June 28 around 11:00 pm. We arrived
back at home on July 31 at 8:30 pm.
- We were there about 12 hours short of four weeks.
- Our vehicle is a 1976 Chevy Suburban now with more than 324,000 miles on it.
It has been to Mexico numerous times and "lived" some four years down there.
This has been a very trustworthy vehicle, thanks to the Lord. This trip will
really put it to the test. A recent compression check on the engine revealed
two very weak cylinders. After consulting with various mechanics, we made the
decision to drive the rig down there despite the compression problem.
And the Lord saw to it that the old rig performed
beautifully, allowing major air conditioning and engine cooling problems to
test our faith, courage and patience on the way down. And a leaking transmission
to try us on the way home.
- Summer time temperatures in Guaymas Valley can be expected to reach at
least 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- My primary job assignment is to teach and preach in the local church, as
well as helping and counseling the national pastor there, Manuel Torres. I
will also be evaluating the needs there, and scouting out the possibility of
expanding the reach of the mission operation.
- Margaret Miller, a former missionary colleague in Guaymas Valley, will
join our family on this expedition.
- The glaring Sonoran summer sunshine and the chilly air conditioning
drafts both give Ruby raging headaches. Margaret is also very prone to severe
headaches as well as back problems. I battle terrific allergy problems from
airborne particles. Our children are basically healthy, although LaVay has
inherited some of my allergy problems. And the two younger ones were recently
exposed to chicken pox. Thanks to God who answered many
prayers from many people, Ruby had very few headaches, Margaret's health
was incredibly good, I suffered absolutely no allergy difficulties, nobody
got chicken pox, and we were all in basically very good health for the
duration of our visit. Thank you for praying!
I hope to provide fairly regular updates. For the first while,
they will be daily; I doubt whether I'll maintain that rate. Since I am
keeping a journal of our time here, the updates will likely be written in a
daily form, but the postings to the Web page will probably be only on a
once-a-week basis. Click the number to jump to that day's report:
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
13 14 15
16 17 18
19 20 21
Day 1 -- June 24, 1996 -- Monday
Day 2 -- June 25, 1996 -- Tuesday
- Departed Woodburn, Oregon, at 9:34 in the morning.
- Crossed into California at 3:46 in the afternoon.
- Arrived at Motel 6 in Stockton, California, at 10:09 pm.
- I was bothered with terrific hip pains.
- Our gas mileage was right around 9.6 miles per gallon. About normal for
our 454 engine.
- Our oil mileage was horrendous -- about 250 miles per quart!
- Andrew was not feeling too great.
- A cloudy, rainy day -- nice.
Day 3 -- June 26, 1996 -- Wednesday
- We were late getting off from Stockton -- somewhere around 9:15 that
- We made it to Blythe, California, by 10:00 pm or so.
- Our old rig with the bad engine pulled us right along at 65 and 70 mph
(depending on the limit) without a problem, even in all the steep and/or
prolonged climbing. Praise the Lord!
- We had a nice cloudy travelling day. Alas, when we did need the AC in the
late afternoon...we blew a hose after about two hours of use. Time for
attitude and perspective checkups and corrections!
- Andrew seems to be feeling better after having a terrible night. I'm
feeling a little better in my left hip.
Day 4 -- June 27, 1996 -- Thursday
- Since we knew we didn't have far too go, we didn't push ourselves getting
off in the morning, taking time to eat a leisurely breakfast instead of buying
some fast food stuff to eat as we drove.
- We crossed into Arizona at 11:03 in the morning.
- The "Santa María Dream Team"
finally linked up in Eloy, Arizona. What that means is that we picked up
Margaret Miller there. After some three years of not serving in Santa
María together, we are finally together and aimed for Mexico for
service once again. We are looking forward to it, and we think the people
there are also.
- We got to our motel in Tucson at about 8:30 that evening. Margaret is
pretty tuckered out -- makes me wonder how she'll be feeling tomorrow.
- Andrew and I are feeling pretty well normal.
Day 5 -- June 28, 1996 -- Friday
- Here we sit in Tucson, waiting for the AC problems to be fixed in our
vehicle. I rented a car so we can get around and do some final business.
Hopefully that way we can get on the road right away in the morning. I figure
we can get to Santa María in about six hours. It all depends how long
customs takes at the border.
- Margaret has been sick with one of her terrific migraine headaches today.
She is feeling markedly better right now -- 4:04 pm.
- Later: We got our Suburban back around 7:30 or so. Air conditioning works
great...and feels great.
Day 6 -- June 29, 1996 -- Saturday
- Wow! This is the day. The time as I write is 7:16 am. After all
the delays, problems and distractions, we are finally poised to enter Mexico.
I really wonder what all we are going to "get into." I wonder because it seems
we have gone through so much testing from the Lord and opposition from the
enemy up to this point.
- We crossed "the line" at Nogales, Arizona at 2:15 pm. Upon crossing the
border into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, the time was immediately one hour later
-- 3:15. Till we got all our papers in order and went through two inspections,
it was 5:06!
- We should have had a straight, four-and-a-half hour trip to our final
distination of Santa María. However, we first had a radiator hose
develop a major leak. Thankfully, the hole was right by the clamp, so I was
able to shorten the hose and get us back on our way. That took a while. At
least I was able to park the Suburban in the shade while I worked. I had spied
a little shed just out in the open, so drove up beside it. The whole vehicle
was in the shade which was a tremendous blessing for all of us! Thank the
- Our next delay was also related to engine cooling -- the radiator
developed a leak. The provisional solution to that problem was to not put the
radiator cap on tightly, thus keeping pressure from building in the
- After stops for radiator water, gasoline, drinking water, and supper, we
were finally able to drive the last hour and a half without stopping. At last,
we arrived at the Santa María mission house around 11:00 pm.
- Till we got most of the vehicle unloaded and things arranged enough in the
house for everyone to bed down, it was an hour or so after midnight.
Day 7 -- June 30, 1996 -- Sunday
- The cleanup and repairing around here seems overwhelmingly plenteous. I
have to keep telling myself I don't need to get going on it right away -- to
give myself time to rest up and catch up from a very rigorous trip. I also
need to remind myself that I needn't expect myself to do it all, or even most
of it. I plan only to do the minimum that allows us to "get along" for four
weeks. I feel like I should give myself to other projects while we are
- I went into Guaymas to see about getting the radiator pulled out of the
Sub so it could be checked and repaired. The guy would have worked on it today
yet, I think, even though he already had a bunch to do. But he asked me to
bring it back at eight Monday morning so he could take his time at it and do a
careful, better job. I thought that was smart. I also thought it was good
- Spent a lot of time unpacking, arranging, cleaning and rearranging.
- Sounds like the church is down to 9 or so faithful members, and not all of
those are very strong and vigorous spiritually.
Day 8 -- July 1, 1996 -- Monday
- Our first mostly-cloudless day; plenty warm to suit me. We have no
thermometer outside to tell us just how uncomfortable we are
but the thermometer in Margaret's bedroom
read 98 degrees, even after the AC had been running for the last 40+ hours!
Nope, the machine doesn't seem to be doing much good. The other rooms are
much, much better, thankfully. In our bedrooms, we could keep only one AC
running at a time, because whoever wired in the second one wired it into the
same circuit as the first. I finally got tired of the matter and rewired it,
even if it is Sunday. That solved the fuse-blowing problem.
- Margy, LaVay and Dora were the only ones from here to go to the children's
class this morning. I told Russell that next Sunday he would have to start
going. Margy came back pretty pleased with the number of children there and
how well behaved they were. She was also quite impressed with how well
María de Quintero did at telling the story.
- Ruby has not been feeling very well. Not really sick, I guess, just super
tired and beat. I don't think she's had a good night's sleep since we left, so
that is what is catching up to her. I hope she can start sleeping normally,
starting tonight. Tomorrow is the first wash day....
- At the service this evening we learned that the mother-in-law of one of
the members passed away in Hermosillo, the state capital. Yesterday, I
- I preached from 1 John 1.
Day 9 -- July 2, 1996 -- Tuesday
- It's 9:15 and here I sit in a deli with the whole day stretched out before
me. I got my rig to the radiator shop about an hour ago. The guy said it will
be ready by six. Oh dear! I asked him if there was any chance they could get
it done sooner. He said they'd try. I was going to bring along the leadership
book so I could do some translation...then I went and forgot it!
- Margy has a chip out of a front tooth. We hope we can get her to a dentist
tomorrow afternoon while we are in town shopping.
- No chicken pox yet, thank the Lord!
- Now it's 10:18 and the temperature in Guaymas is around 33 degrees Celsius
(91 Fahrenheit, if my conversion is right!).
Day 10 -- July 3, 1996 -- Wednesday
- Ruby didn't sleep well last night. She's feeling so tired and beat and
sorta sick to her stomach. Other than this, we've yet to have any significant
health problems, thankfully.
- Today is a cloudy day with a pretty nice breeze blowing most of the time.
Muggy, but not bad.
- This morning I got a quick, first draft of notes done for tomorrow night
in case the pastor asks me to preach again. One of the members who was
visiting last night told me he wishes we'd have extra services while we are
here. I asked him if he'd commented that to the pastor. He said he hadn't and
that's where the matter rests. I don't plan to suggest it, that's for
- We went to Guaymas in the afternoon to do our weekly shopping and other
business. Till we got home around 9:45, Ruby was feeling pretty nigh to the
end of her physical rope. I hope she doesn't come down really hard with
- The roads sure are bad. Oh, there are lots of pretty good stretches, but
then, out of "nowhere," come these really rough places. Rattle, rattle; shake,
shake! Oh well.
Day 11 -- July 4, 1996 -- Thursday
- We had some sort of precipitation during the night. Rain, is what I mean,
or drizzle or something!
- This morning I skimmed stuff off the surface of the cistern water. For
half an hour or so I lay there on my belly in the sun with my head down in the
hole reaching a flat-edged bucket down in, letting water just barely run in so
the floating things would dribble in. Then I'd hand it out to Russell to dump.
That was slow!!! Then I got smart(er) -- I sent Russell in for the biggest
strainer Margy had. Then things really speeded up. I think tomorrow morning
I'll drop in and cut off the roots that have grown in through the concrete
- Lamp and Light publishes a tract called
"La Iglesia Cristiana" (The Christian Church). I
spied it on a shelf in the living room. I like what I saw. I started typing in
the text and it will serve a dual purpose. I'll put it on my Web page and I'll
also make a little study for the pastor to use after we leave.
- I finally got started typing English text for the leadership book. Whew!
I'm going to have to spend a bunch of time deciding what I want to use for
now. There is just so much material! I think I'll call the publishers and ask
if they have it available in Spanish by now.
- I'm glad Ruby was able to help Margy and LaVay with the wash today. So she
is starting to feel some better. And she did go to the service this
- After the service, the pastor told me he has in mind for me to preach on
Sundays (since that is their usual preaching service).
- Toño and Segunda (husband and wife; she's not a member yet, he is),
and Javier and Ana (cousins, both older, both Christians, she's not a member
yet) stopped by for an hour and a half or so after the service. Toño
and Segunda came over twice yesterday while we were gone to Guaymas!
Toño says there are lots of interested people in town...but that we
need a church that is (basically and in my own words) more "with it"; he's
really troubled by those who are dropping back after having been in the faith
for so long. Segunda has been wearing the veil since February, though not all
Day 12 -- July 5, 1996 -- Friday
- Spent my morning talking and listening. Manuel (the pastor) came around
8:10 and was here almost four hours. I think we had a good introductory visit
about church and spiritual things, as well as about national and international
affairs. I told him about my desire to translate some portions of the
leadership book for him. And about some of the present thinking regarding the
expansion of the mission operation. He seems to think Cárdenas (a
village to the north) is a good place for us to consider seriously. I asked
him what he thinks the role of the new mission should
be here. He feels the role should be an evangelistic one here in the Valley;
and since Joe will be here in Santa María, he's counting on getting
some help and counsel from him (Joe) in his (Manuel's) ministry here.
- The economic situation for the common people has worsened. A year ago, the
daily wage was 20 pesos; now it's 25 for most, and 30 for some. (The current
exchange rate is 7.48 pesos to the US dollar.) But the buying power has really
gone down. Before Manuel arrived this morning, I had another visitor. This man
had been reminiscing back to 1962 when a day's wages was enough to buy a cot,
and have a bit of money left over. Now it takes a week's wages to buy a
cot...if you can save the money long enough to pay cash; for a credit purchase
you'd have to work longer.
- Late this afternoon, Russell and I descended into the cistern. He used a
strainer to get floating debris off the surface of the water. I used my
pocketknife to cut loose the invading roots. A couple of boys were anxiously
waiting outside to take turns (or something) with Dora and Michayla lifting
the roots out as I handed them up. After we were all out again, one of the
boys inadvertently scared three little birds out of their nest in a cenizo
"tree" that's beside the cistern. Russell and they caught two of them and put
them back in their nest, but they would keep jumping out. One of them finally
went fluttering into the cistern! So I lowered Russell back in and he fished
it out with the strainer! They finally got the little things to stay put up
there. Then I sent the children away from the cistern so they wouldn't
frighten the birds anymore. I bent over to check the water depth with an old
broom...and promptly dropped it in. Sigh! So I went back in to retrieve it.
Anyway, I'm glad that job is done. It was pretty dank and warm in there, but
not unbearable since we had a nice cloud cover by then.
- Russell took a bad spill on his bike. He really hurt his right knee. He
was wearing pants that were about knee length. What happened? The chain popped
off the rear "star" and threw him into a wild skid right at the time he was
going really fast down the street. Ouch!!
- Temperature at 10:00 pm was 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius).
The thermometer has this conversion right on it, so my earlier conversion must
have been in error.
Day 13 -- July 6, 1996 -- Saturday
- I spent several hours this morning trying to save money and electrical
wire. How so? Well, the outhouse light is no longer wired into its switch.
Instead, the user plugs it into an outdoor socket. So...I decided to pull the
original wire out from under the sidewalk, and do a rewiring job so we could
use the switch again. Well, turns out the wire runs under the sidewalk, but
not in the dirt. It's partially embedded in the cement...so I couldn't pull it
loose. Oh well. Nice try, and all that. What a hot, sweaty, dirty job,
tunneling under the sidewalk! It was interesting, anyway. And a welcome break
from all the computer work.
- Ruby did most of the wash with a little help from LaVay, who was also busy
entertaining company part of the time. Margy was busy with Ana, who came to
work on Sunday School stuff.
- This evening was the church's bi-annual members' meeting. Javier stopped
by on his way there. Margy walked over there with him. I decided I'd better
stay home. Since I was pastor here before Manuel was, I didn't want to give
any appearance of horning in on church affairs. Anyway, Margy told Manuel that
if it wasn't proper for her to be there, to just say so and she would go home
without being offended. Well, he just expected us to be there, but he realized
it was his goof for not making that clear. "As far as we are concerned, you
folks are just like members here!" So, he sent Javier over to fetch me. I
- After he was done with their business, Manuel wondered if I had any input
and/or counsel for them. I had no idea that was coming, of course. To my
credit, I'd managed to keep my mouth silent during the whole meeting.
Cheers! Anyway, I spoke to them for some
ten minutes. I led in closing prayer and we were done about 9:15.
Day 14 -- July 7, 1996 -- Sunday
- Today marks the beginning of a new work project. The roofs of our two
bedrooms are poured concrete. And they absorb the day's heat like everything.
Even two air conditioners have a hard time keeping things comfortable during
the day. The Mission Board has approved installing one-meter-square styrofoam
sheets on the ceiling to serve as insulation. Today I purchased 14 sheets to
do our bedroom (which has the weakest air conditioner).
- Margy took only about 10 minutes at the dentist. Lo and behold, he'd
already done most of the work on Tuesday, and only needed to smooth it out.
And he charged her only 50 pesos!
- While we were in Empalme (the next big town south of Guaymas along the
main highway), Russell and I went to the Banamex (one of the big banks) ATM
machine and got 1000 pesos out of our Key Bank checking account in Oregon
without any problems. Boy that's neat!!!!!! That's a first in Mexico for
- On the way home, just beyond La Palma (a village about six miles south of
Santa María), we saw the tiniest little puppy wandering across the
road. Russell begged me to stop. So I finally did. When the little beast saw
us backing up, it starting peddling toward us as fast it could go. It went
under Suburban and started yelping. Russell finally snagged it. The little
thing is just crawling with critters! It had two baths pronto! Should we keep
it and let Javier care for it till Travis (Joe's son that's between Russell
and LaVay in age) gets here?! The children had talked of naming it Mustang
since that's Travis' favorite car right now. Russell ended up calling it Bud
or Buddy. He says Travis can name it when he gets here.
- Javier came just before supper. I sold him our boombox for 400 pesos. I
figure we can buy a new one in Oregon, he will make good use of this one, and
this can be our "hidden" way of saying "thanks!" to him for all his help
around here. He'd planned on offering me 500 for it. To buy a new one like it
here, he'd have to pay at least 700, and pay cash at that.
- Javier stopped by to visit again; Blanca (a fallen church member and young
mother married to a non-Christian) and three of her four children also came
for a visit.
- Benito and Evangelina (he, a church member; she, a non-Christian) and four
of their young children came about 9:00, and left around 10:30!! She had made
some special, little, thick, sorta-sweet tortillas and wanted to bring us
some. Even though it was so late. Even though it was dripping a little from
the sky. I was blessed by that, although my heart sank that we should be
getting company so late. I figure, though, that we won't be here that long and
people want to take advantage of our being here.
- LaVay is feeling sick to her stomach this evening. Uh oh! And mine is
feeling a tad unsettled. Hmmm.
Day 15 -- July 8, 1996 -- Monday
- Ruby is also feeling quite bum now; Margy and I are a little off in the
middle. Margy and LaVay and Dora went to Sunday School. Ruby got us some
breakfast and went back to bed. LaVay came home from Sunday School within an
hour after leaving. She ended up sleeping for a couple of hours during the
afternoon. By the time we got home from the evening service we were all
feeling fine again, thankfully.
- The Sunday School teachers today were Javier, Ana and Margy; María
de Quintero was home, sick. 26 children were present; 20 last Sunday.
- More girls came this morning to play UNO with LaVay. This is getting to be
quite the thing!
- The cistern finally filled up this afternoon. Praise the Lord!
- I finished typing in the introduction to the leadership book and started
the translation process. This is going to be a very s-l-o-w process.
- Church started at 7:35 with Javier leading out. Margy lead about 20
minutes' worth of singing. After the devotional, testimony time and the
offering, I got up to preach at 8:30. I preached from 1 John 2:1-6. Had I
not spent so much time reviewing last Sunday's message, I'd have been done a
little before nine, I think. As it was, I quit at 9:05. By that time we were
having all kinds of thunderings and lightnings really close by. Droplets were
beginning to fall (from the sky, naturally!). The walk home was a little eery
and worrisome; things would really get lit up when that lightning would flash.
It was a relief to get all home safely.
- Anyway, the stormy conditions (which didn't last more than an hour) really
cooled things off. Enough so that for the first night since we arrived, Margy
and LaVay slept in Margy's room. That means the big 220-volt air conditioner
was turned off for the first long period of time!
Day 16 -- July 9, 1996 -- Tuesday
- Everybody is feeling much, much better this morning, although Margy's head
seems to be perhaps a little questionable. She went over to help María
de Quintero go over the church books this afternoon, so her head must not be
plaguing her all that severely. We are thankful!
- I've preached twice already. That means I'm half done with that part of
being here. I can see I won't get far through 1 John at the present rate. I
think I'll break out of the take-it-in-order mode so that I can "hit" some
areas that I think they'd be encouraged and exhorted and challenged by at this
- Juan stopped by for a little while just before breakfast, and again
during, and again after! He'd like to ride to town with us tomorrow, as far as
Empalme. I told him I'd like to borrow his Freon tank so I can fill it with
Freon 22 for Margy's AC.
- One of LaVay's friends spent several hours playing UNO with her again!
LaVay took a break from the games to help hang out wash.
- The ladies did the wash despite some early drizzle and threatening clouds
and high humidity. I made markings on the ceiling in our bedroom for the
styrofoam liner. Then I cut 12 four-inch strips from one sheet of Frigolit
(the brand name of styrofoam I'm using). I had enough silicone to glue up six
of those strips. Works pretty good. I still haven't decided how to fasten the
sheets to the strips. I hope to get an idea of what's available tomorrow in
- After dinner, LaVay swept and mopped the kitchen; Russell burned trash and
emptied the "used" laundry water.
- Later in the afternoon (after naps), Russell and I buzzed down to La
Atravezada (the next village south of us -- about three miles or so) to see if
the little hardware store there had any silicone. Lo and behold, they had one
tube left of clear stuff (manufactured by Dow Corning, same as I bought in the
States) for a few cents over five dollars. I was positively delighted. So we
came home and put up the remaining six strips, then I cut up another sheet of
Frigolit into strips and put up as many of those as I could before I ran out
of silicone again. It looks like a room's worth of strips will take two and a
half tubes of silicone.
- Margy was headed for María de Quintero's when she met Lupe
Meráz (former church member) on the street and headed toward our place.
So they came back together and were here for an hour or so. Then they took
off. Margy had been planning to visit Lupe this afternoon anyway, so they went
over to her house for awhile...and met Margarita Torres (church member) on her
way to Lupe's house! Finally, Margy went to María's place around five
- LaVay had also headed out to María's place to play UNO with the
girls there. We'd told her she could go since Margy was going. After two hours
there and still no Margy, LaVay came home! Good for her!
- Did a little more translating of the leadership book. It is going
frightfully slow since I'm having to fit it in among other stuff.
- The sky grumbled and rumbled awhile this afternoon. It has been a
cloudier-and-cooler-than-usual day today. We even saw some lightning and it
looked like Ortiz to the north and Márquez to the east were really
getting rain. But we didn't.
- After supper, everybody else went down to visit José and Yolanda
(weak, struggling church members). On the way back they stopped in to chat
with Josefina (former church member) and Norma (daughter; former Christian) a
little bit. They didn't get home till close to ten o'clock!!
- And what did I do since I didn't go along? Well, more translation as well
as catching up my journal. Then around 9:15 there was a knock at the door --
Toño and Segunda! In less than five minutes another knock heralded
Javier's arrival! They got left by 11:40. Yawn!!!!! Oh, we had a very
interesting visit alright -- national politics and the end times, Christian
victory and obedience, and depression. I'm really glad they came, if for no
other reason, then so that I might know that Segunda had been battling
depression yesterday, and that Toño is really into a psychological,
positive-thinking approach to dealing with life. He presents his view so
convincingly. That, combined with his status in the community as a teacher and
his higher education and his willingness to speak up, make me quite alarmed
about the impact he could produce in the church. I'm left wondering what I
should drop in order to try to put together some material presenting the
Biblical view. The Web page trip updates is one idea that comes to mind; the
styrofoaming project is another.
Day 17 -- July 10, 1996 -- Wednesday
- Town day! Which means this page finally gets a long-overdue update!
- The Lord had a wonderful reminder for me which He gave me through Andrew.
I was sitting at my little desk doing computer work; Andrew's crib is right
next to the desk. Anyway, Andrew woke up singing. One line he kept repeating
was, "The blessings will come down as the prayers go up"!
- Before breakfast this morning, I walked over to Juan's place to borrow a
little gas tank from him so I could buy some Freon 22 for Margy's air
- We took off for Guaymas around ten o'clock and raced around trying to
remember all our business and get it done. We finally headed for home a little
after 5:00. What a day! We just nibbled on this and that for supper. Nobody
really felt like eating. Oh, at one point while we were in town we saw the
thermometer read-out there read 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees
- Javier came to take Margy over to meet an elderly couple that have been
wanting to visit with her. It didn't dawn on her right away that that's what
he'd come for (since he didn't say so). Then when she did catch on and was
going to say so to him, some girls arrived to ask her some questions about
some injections they had wanted us to get in town. Anyway, the visit to the
old folks didn't materialize. But Javier stayed till almost 10:00, which was
- I learned from him that Juan (his brother-in-law and former church member)
has gotten back into drinking some. But Juan still says to Javier once in a
while that he shouldn't be surprised the day he comes back to the Lord.
(During one of his own visits here, Juan himself had told me that he is not
very comfortable away from the Lord -- he fears dying, he fears the Lord's
return. He said Lupita (his wife and non-baptized Christian who no longer
attends either) thinks they don't do well in not going to church. He also said
he'd decided it was time to return, then heard we were coming. And since he
knows how people talk, he decided to make the return after we leave, so people
wouldn't say it came about because we were here. Sigh! I know what he
- In the course of my conversation with Javier, we got to talking about old
people here in Santa María who have died unsaved. Then he mentioned,
just casually and in passing, about a time he had prayed for Toño and
Segunda's boy Carlitos. Javier had arrived there to find the boy bent over
with awful ear pain. So Javier had told him to put his hand on the hurting
ear. "And don't take it away till I tell you to!" Then he prayed. When he was
done, he looked up to see Carlitos with his eyes still closed and his hand
still over his ear. "OK, you can take your hand away. What do you feel?" "It
doesn't hurt anymore! Mom, it feels just like my other ear!" So Javier asked
him, "Now whom are you going to thank?" "God!"
- I'd said we had been talking about unsaved old folks dying. At one point
in his relating of different elderly people who had passed away without
yielding to the Lord, Javier commented about one, "He escaped from me."
Meaning? "Despite my best efforts at praying and praying for his salvation,
and visiting and visiting him to present the Gospel to him, he died without
making a decision for the Lord." Javier makes a special effort to get
around that way when he hears of an old person being in their last day(s).
Day 18 -- July 11, 1996 -- Thursday
- Wash day again. The temperature at 10:20 was 93 degrees Fahrenheit; by
12:30 it had reached 100 degrees. Wash day comes every other day, except for
Saturday and Sunday.
- I made a little more progress on installing the styrofoam ceiling liner
for our bedroom.
- Outdoor temperature at 5:45 -- still 100 degrees! In our bedroom around
4:30 it was 92 degrees -- with the air conditioner running! I held the
thermometer up to our concrete ceiling for about ten minutes and ended up with
a reading close to 112 degrees! So, the styrofoam should make a big
- Juan (fallen church member) recharged Margy's air conditioner this
afternoon. To no avail. He says the compressor is not running properly
anymore. The gauges show that the pressure is leaking past the piston. Sounds
like this is that machine's last summer.
- Margy visited Blanca Méndez and Yola Solano (both fallen church
members) this afternoon. Blanca asked to be relieved of responsibility for the
mission library since she has little twin boys plus two other children,
besides the fact that she no longer goes to church. Margy was planning to
bring up the subject to her, so that worked out really nice.
- After 12 days here, I'd say things are looking a little less bright for
our long-term return to Mexico this fall.
- No translation done today. Nor any more work on the Lamp and Light tract I
wanted to get all typed in and a set of study papers made for.
Day 19 -- July 12, 1996 -- Friday
- This morning began quite overcast with a few rumbles sounding neatly
overhead. I left at 8:00 to go visit Valentín (non-Christian) and
María Quintero. We had some nice drizzles drizzling. It's a wonderfully
cool morning, but rather muggy. I walked home amid scattered drips.
- Temperature at 10:30 am -- 84 degrees. At 4:30 pm -- 98 degrees.
- I got two more ceiling sheets prepared for installation.
- I finally began cleaning out the adobe storeroom. After getting all kinds
of other stuff out of the way (lumber, cupboard, sink, bed, lawn chairs
galore, old styrofoam, saw horses, garbage, etc), I hauled out close to 250
bricks...and there's probably about twice that many to go. I had the children
burn a bunch of stuff; there's more that needs that "treatment"! I was
delighted to have my memory confirmed: I did indeed find left-over strips of
Plexiglass as well as some pieces of window tinting sheets. Now I can replace
the Plexiglass that was broken out of the kitchen door.
- Part of the morning, Margy (with some help from LaVay) worked on sorting
old Lamp and Light Sunday School papers. I was
wondering aloud what we should do with all the remains. I mentioned I should
ask Lamp and Light for suggestions. Then Ruby commented that if a new work is
begun in another village, those papers would come in handy. Excellent
- Ruby and Margy went to visit Juanita Solano (interested non-Christian)
this afternoon; left a little after 3:30 and didn't get back till 6:40! Like
usual, Juanita was just full of it, so that Margy could hardly get a word in.
And when she was able to, she didn't think Juanita heard anyway. Luís
and Juanita have been separated for a while due to his unfaithfulness. Now
he's trying to come back, and she can't decide whether to have him or not. She
gets so much conflicting advice, and her family is very much against them
getting back together.
- I wrote and rewrote a preliminary, provisional statement of explanation,
purpose and guidelines for the medical fund that María de Quintero
manages for the mission.
- No translation accomplished today either, and I only got one paragraph
typed in the tract I'm copying. This is getting quite frustrating!
- José and Yolanda Torres (struggling Christians) and their five
children came at 9:20 and stayed till 10:40! I overheard her mention to Margy
that the last three days she's felt like maybe the birth of her child will
soon come. Perhaps that will be my first medical run since we're back.
Day 20 -- July 13, 1996 -- Saturday
- The day came with rain, thuderings and lightnings. We finally had enough
rain to make puddles. Still not a driving, banging, flashing-upon-flashing
thunderstorm, but (for 10-15 minutes) a harder rain than mere drizzles. Then
it slacked off again.
- Well, two weeks from this morning we should be on our way back. I just
don't see how I can get nearly everything done that I'd hoped to do. I'm not
entirely sure just how much we've got done yet either! I've certainly spent
more time in Guaymas than I ever thought I would. We arrived two weeks ago
tonight, and I've been to Guaymas five of those days!!! And I've gotten
sidetracked with more unplanned-for projects than I anticipated. Oh well. What
I get done someone else won't have to.
- A slackening of the drizzle allowed me to quick don a cap, chomp down a
banana and head out again for Quintero's at 8:15. I got home a little after
10:15. María gave me a written itemization of activity in the mission's
medical fund since she took it over from Margy in 1994. She also gave me a
copy of the April-May-June 1996 treasurer's report for the church here. I
asked her if she would like to care for the mission library now that Blanca
really hasn't time to do so. The answer is yes, so we need to get the books
and shelf picked up at Blanca's and delivered to María -- maybe even
today yet. One more item not on the original list of things to accomplish
while we are here. While there visiting,
I had my first cup of coffee since we're back. What's so significant about
that? I don't particularly care for coffee--I'm just a social drinker.
- The ladies quick did the wash this afternoon since it was so rainy and
cloudy this morning! They started soon after 2:00 and really went to it. Good
for them, especially since tomorrow looks like such a full day.
- We had more visitors late this afternoon -- Josefina Rocha (former church
member), her daughter Norma (ex-Christian) and (though not with the first two)
Marí Torres (struggling church member).
- Late this afternoon I cut out and siliconed-in a new plexiglass piece for
the kitchen "window." Silicone is great stuff! We use it extensively on the
- After supper Margy, Ruby, Michayla and Dora walked down to visit Ana
Calderón (faithful Christian) for 45 minutes or so. Till they came
back, we had been "invaded" with beetles! I don't recall ever seeing so many
of the things congregated on our front porch and crawling up the screen door.
Sure glad a huge percentage of them stayed outdoors! That, along with flying
ants and many, many frogs and toads, is the price we pay around these parts
- Temperature at 11:00 am -- 83 degrees. At 6:00 pm -- 105 degrees.
Day 21 -- July 14, 1996 -- Sunday
- Got up and the sky was rainy. The temperature at 8:30 am -- 78
- Margy, LaVay and I left for town at 9:00 and got back soon after 1:30.
Wow! That was a "fast" trip! First we took care of the only reason for the
trip -- we stopped at Margy's dentist in Empalme. Lo and behold, the piece
that had broken out was from the tooth itself, not the repair job he'd done
last week. So he put something provisional in and told her to come back
Thursday or Friday afternoon.
- Lots of non-thunderstorm-type rain in the Valley as well as in Guaymas.
For a few days this will mean little or no work in the Valley, but then it
should mean more work later on.
- I got two more sheets ceiling liner ready to go up after the silicone gets
nice and dry. Then, during a break in the rain, I decided I'd better try to do
something about some of the leaks on sidewalk roof. I found some old left-over
roll roofing, cut it into three good-sized pieces, and used that to patch
three major leaking areas. There are more leaks, but at least those are taken
care of. I also use good ole silicone to plug a pesky little leak in the roof
over the outhouse.
- Tonight was the night of shocking, frigid, shivery, cold showers! Once the
skin "froze" enough, the cold felt quite good.
- I'm glad and quite amazed to report that Russell's knee is healing
amazingly fast and looking very good. However, Michayla is not feeling well
this evening -- feverish and lethargic.
Day 22 -- July 15, 1996 -- Monday
- Michayla still not feeling very well.
- Well, it was raining this morning. Margy figured they wouldn't have Sunday
School. Then around 9:30 or so, three girls showed up saying there were
children waiting over at the church. So Margy walked up to chat with Ana about
the matter. They decided to go ahead and have Sunday School with those that
showed up. Javier had already left for town, so he obviously wasn't there. But
12 or 13 children were, so that was good. Margy taught the lesson.
- Since none of our children were ready to go to Sunday School, after
breakfast and hair-combing, we had little devotional time at home from the
Sunday School lesson. And it was in English, so they benefitted more in that
- I was so afraid we wouldn't be able to have a service tonight due to the
rain. And yet for some reason, I didn't "feel" like going to church and
preaching tonight. The sky started clearing up in the afternoon (and by the
time we were walking home after the service, it looked very clear) and we had
a good service. Manuel was the leader, Javier led the singing and after the
usual testimony time and offering, I got up to preach a little after 8:35. I
preached from 1 John 2:7-14, though my notes ran through verse 17. But I quit
a little after 9:10, figuring I could get the missing verses later.
- An amazing thing happened during testimony time. Well, two amazing things.
Josefina (excommunicated member) asked for forgiveness and expressed her
desire to continue on with the Lord faithfully. I wasn't clear whether she
meant in this congregation or with the Profecía group where she had
been attending; she wasn't wearing a veil. Anyway, Manuel took her to mean
this group, so he said the church was willing and happy to accept her back,
and that they would discuss the matter later. Which I thought wise.
- The other amazing occurrence was that Ana stood and boldly asked to be
baptized next Sunday! But what really startled and shocked me was that she
directed her request to me! Toward the end of her "speech" she included Manuel
in the equation. I think Manuel was rather taken aback by the presentation
also. But he seemed agreeable to following through with her request.
- Javier stopped by after the service and didn't leave till close to 11:00.
No problem with me. I'm glad he does.
- This evening I started beginning to see that ultimately, I am the biggest
obstacle to our long-term return -- time to get my act back together
personally as well as as a husband and father -- then perhaps some of our
other problems will be better dealt with. I shall work toward that.
- Day's noted temperatures (with clear skies):
- 8:00 am -- 82 degrees
- 10:20 am -- 92 degrees
- 6:00 pm -- 102 degrees
- At 6:15 in the afternoon the temperature up against the bare ceiling in
our room was 106 degrees whereas up against the styrofoam lining it only
reached 90 degrees. I think the difference will be even greater than that once
all the liner is up in this room. Oh, and that is after the AC had been
running all day.
- I went to visit Manuel a bit before 8:00 this morning, and didn't head for
home till about 10:15. Covered the gamut of subjects again. I especially
wanted to talk with him about the baptism, my vision for a new meetinghouse,
coming over for another visit at our place, and the Torres debts at the
Conasupo (government grocery store) -- addressed them all. I think he figured
I would help him with the baptism, maybe even do it myself. But I told him I'd
be glad to preach the message if he wanted me to, but that I thought it would
be best if he did the baptizing. I told him plainly that it would be best for
the authority-in-the-church issue if I did not baptize Ana.
- While we were on this business of the baptism, I commented that I was
really shocked that Ana directed her request primarily to me. After five years
of being gone, I'm not sure why she did it that way. Anyway, Manuel made two
basic comments in that context: (1) it shows that even though I've been gone
five years and am no longer pastor, "le tienen mucho respeto" [they have a lot
of respect for you--spoken in the formal sense], and (2) some of the Hermanos
must still be somewhat confused on this authority structure thing, "pensando
que todavía estoy bajo su autoridad" [thinking I am still under your
authority--spoken in the formal sense].
- Manuel thought he might come over sometime between six and eight tomorrow
- I put up that other sheet of styrofoam after cutting out a place for the
light. Now I'm a little over half done. My! The ceiling is looking nice and it
is so handy and slick to be able to just lift up the sheet and Velcro it in
- I finally got around to spending a bunch of time spent translating -- at
least three hours -- but it still goes frightfully slow. But I finally got the
introduction to the book translated. That's all?!! That's all. Sad, isn't it.
The material is about 3« pages of single-spaced, one-inch-margins stuff. 2599
- Ruby, LaVay and Margy took the Suburban and hauled some boxes over to
Blanca's house, intending to pick up the mission library for transport over to
María de Quintero's. However, Blanca wanted to go through the books and
clean them before sending them off. So they spent a nice while visiting with
her instead. She'll let us know when to go pick up the books. Margy told her
about the baptismal service and invited her to go. Blanca said she would. I
hope this service will draw a number of the "down and outters"; I must prepare
a baptismal message that will encourage, challenge and draw them back.
- María Torres showed up around 5:45 or so. She has really been
having blood pressure problems and resulting headaches that simply will not go
away. The doctor prescribed some medicine which María has been taking.
However, they don't have the money to do the lab tests (and pay for the bus
fares to get back and forth). When Margy told me all this some four hours
later, I told her we should take María in on Wednesday, if it suits
her. We'll take care of the expense for them. Margy will check with
María after we get home from town tomorrow afternoon.
- We had just started supper and I had just peeled and mashed my potatoes,
when Valentín came. He's hurrying to finish a carpentry project that
needs to be delivered tomorrow -- and his quarter-inch bit just won't cut very
well. He wondered if I had one. So I got my drill stuff out of storage in the
adobe storeroom. I had two and told him to take them both in case one wasn't
any good. Before he left, Juan showed up. And soon after Valentín left
and before Juan left, Javier arrived! We went in and I finished my supper.
Juan wanted to borrow my circuit tester because his quit working and he's
trying to get an air conditioner fixed and on its way.
- Javier came to take Margy to meet an elderly couple -- they were home by
9:40 or so. These folks received the Lord in the Apostolic faith, but have
been more or less abandoned by the Apostolics...but they've been warned not to
fellowship with any other group! Javier goes to visit them quite a bit, if I
understood correctly. Reads the Bible to them (since they can't read) and
sings for them. Besides just visiting, that's what Margy and Javier did this
evening. The old folks would like to be able to listen to the Bible on tape,
so I think Margy will see to it that they start getting that.
- Benito and Chayo (his oldest daughter, I think) showed up somewhere
between 8:30 and 8:45 wondering if I'd taking him to the clinic in La
Atravezada (next village south of us). He was having severe cramps in his
legs. I wish he would have sent a child to fetch me so he wouldn't have had to
have walked all the way to our place -- that's clear across town, the long
way! I'd been hauling more bricks out of the adobe storeroom (maybe 200 by
then), so I quick closed up and cleaned up a little and we took off. But the
transmission just did not want to cooperate! I'd put it in Drive, but nothing
would happen right away. But we did finally get to the clinic. And thankfully,
the doctor was in!!! Praise the Lord! While they were in consulting him, I
checked the fluid level in the transmission; the fluid barely showed up on the
tip of the dip stick. I'd forgotten to check the fluid level frequently since
Wayne told me that the front seal seemed to be leaking. Bad me! I had along
about of a quart, so poured that in using the plug-into-the-cigarette-
lighter-spotlight for illumination, and pouring with great care because I no
longer have a long funnel. That helped a lot, but I need to get more fluid
into it as soon as possible. Benito and Chayo came out of the clinic and we
were home by 9:30.
- On the way home, Benito commented something like, "This is a crisis we are
living in." Not much work right now. Not enough food. He went to work this
morning without eating breakfast; didn't eat till he got home at 2:00. No
food, or at least, not enough. He brought some back with him. Besides his big
family, he has two sick brothers-in-law to feed and buy medicine for. How do
they do it? Not very well sometimes! I wonder if the Missions Committee is
going to resurrect the Food Fund also. The need would certainly seem to
warrant such action.
- With all the humidity we had lots of bugs and flying ants (heavy duty
ones!) out tonight. Sure glad for all the frogs on our sidewalk and back
porch, cleaning the little critters up for us! A few of the flying beasts got
into the shower room, making it quite nuisance to shower.
- Some sores in Michayla's mouth have gotten quite a bit worse. They pain
her to eat now. Ruby put some stuff on them tonight -- iodine-type medicine
called Isodine Bucofaríngeo.