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Friday, October 28, 2011

San Miguel De Allende

This is a brother & sister who own Chinese Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende- wonderful food. They are in english in San Miguel. He is elder there, and served in Mexican Bethel a long time. Chino & Liliiana.
 Had sesame chicken, split with Elaine & Tom & Debbie had a shrimp dish that was great. Very reasonable.
                       The restaurant has outdoor part with a tree in it!
 Typical street in San Miguel, Lots of Flowers everywhere, grow year round, with moderate climate.
Just a short note- Took day to shop for house stuff in beautiful San Miguel de Allende. Went to consignment shops for furniture and pricing of stuff for house. What a old town charm is ther, has all the narrow streets with homes right on top of sidewalk, don't know how you drive a car there w/o getting major scratch/dings. But what charm, established in 15111 or there about. Is a huge tourist attraction. Didn't get to see much because where we were was not in heart of old town, but will definitely be a RV when we/ Elaine has time. It is about 30 minutes from Dolores, and this cong. sprung from San Miguel de Allende. Very historical, established around 1514 A.D. and is a huge tourist attraction. Withs its many shops, a 5/6 star restaurant called- Restaurant- I think. We peeked inside as we drove by, looked very charming. Got a sectional/chaise leather, at consignment shop, many ex-pats live here and move out so they have furniture etc they leave because too expensive to ship back. Then went to Mega store. smaller version of WAL-MART. Priced bedding, appliances etc. Then got cell phones. Headed back home to Dolores.

San Luis de la Paz- our 1st full day in the ministry-muy excellente

Had a long-fulfilling day, our 1st full day in ministry-which didn't start til noon- and ended at 8:45PM.
Helped Tom finish the removal process at KH in am. Then hauled the last of the sand/clay fill out to Phil & Stacey's (bible study) Ranch. Also took Isaiah their 9 yr old son with us. He had accompanied Debbie to Mexican Bethel the day before on bus tour. Came back from there and cleaned up to head to San Luis de La Paz, an outlying town that has over 100,000 people in city proper- to do some returns & hoped for studies. Its a 45 minute drive. Made some calls on the way. At small store along the hwy, Debbie found a call, she had & left a Bible teach book with the owner. As we pulled away, we came alongside a trucker who was parked there and rolled down the window because he looked non mexican, as it turned out he had dual citizenship, 1 parent mexican 1 US. And had light brown hair. So this is 1 way to reach our english speaking people, if they look or sound like there is an english connection you ask. We did as Tom rolled down the window, and said,"hello, are you english"? He bent down to window and said yes. So we started a conversation. Found out he had 4 children-youngest 13-oldest 25- so handing Tom the oct awake to give him, referred to article and asked his thoughts about the teeenage years, and got his feedback regarding the issue, and he commented how his children have an open door to ask him anything they have a question about, and we commended him for that practise and how article stressed how communication was key during those years. So had my 1st mag placement!!!! Had fun with Debbie because she actually had handed mag to me to give to man. I quickly asked Elaine afterward if she had replaced Debbies? so I could count it, after 3 efforts in FS was 1st placement. but Debbie was going to let me have it anyway. Joked about it.

typical street vendor. fresh veggies & fruits grown around La Paz.
Then we came into San Luis de La Paz, La Paz from here on, too many names) and it is about twic size of Hidalgo, and no congregation, here tho the potential would seem natural with it being double Dolores Hidalgo(hereafter Dolores). The cong. I Dolores has fluctuated quite a bit so they haven't worked here D-D in awhile, because of not having enough pub. to really work Dolores much less an oulying town this size 45 minutes away! Bit with new influx of people, they cong. said it was ok to check out territory in La Paz again. Tom & Debbie had several calls apiece they have been cultivating, but due to being back in states to take care of stuff, they hadn't been up here in a while personally. they had friends conduct BS and call on interest they had found while away. And got the updates as to status.

Posado de los Minos- Inn of the Mines- silver & gold mines here.

Our 1st call wasn't home personally but his wife and young son were. She invited all 4 of us in, and we were told the her husband was away getting his father to bring down and would be back around 7pm. and we could come back then. Well when she said that I thought, no way we'll be at home by then. but NO. When you travel this far, and have to work around peoples jobs, lives etc, you adjust to them, if you want to preach. so I found that out. After trying few calls, and planning the rest of afternoon, we drove up to a town in the mountain called Pozo (sp) about 5 miles up, and looked for call there. and to have a early supper, and resume service after that.  
Had a wonderful meal, at what I would call a 5 star restaurant in a bed/bf hotel that accomodates 8. Setting is gorgeous, and the service impeccable. Can see this as a getaway-once in a great while. It is in this old mining town of silver/gold, that as I understand it is still somewhat active. They are remodeling/improving streets, but is so very quaint, you sisters would really enjoy, art gallery,small shops, flowers etc. But is hilly as it is on a mountain about 7500-8000 elev is my guess.
After we returned to La Paz and the fun began. Debbie found a RV/door step that her and Elaine went to and the young mother was there and she conducted a DS(doorstep) for about 45 minutes. Now that is not unusual becaue when you get them, and they are willing due to the distance you take what is offered time wise. She had a young child standing beside her as Debbie took her slowly thru the Truth tract.

Door step study of Debbie's- 45 minutes later arranged for Bible Teach next week study!
She has a understanding of english but it isn't her first tongue, but many people here have lived in US and have returned to Mexico, and want to keep up with english so they don't forget, and when asked want to study in english. So Debbie took her, slowly due to language, thru tracts points 1 by 1, and asked if she would like to continue discussion in the Teach book? That is a filter here, as well as elsewhere, to test interest go thru truth tract before offering books. Was excellent call, and Elaine was able to get training thru the whole presentation, noting the emphasis on simple thoughts, repeated often so as to help HH with the idea/ concept of living on earth. 
After we found a shopkeeper Debbie had found, and she repeated the same process with her albeit in 30 minutes this time because the HH had a better english grasp. 
Then tried a few more RV, then by now its after 7 and we head to the 1st call at 2- on man that was heading back with his father to La Paz, no answer there. No lights on. Called the RV on cell, a;ways a good idea when so much travel is an issue, and he answerd and said he was at bus station just coming in, so didn't want Tom to leave, wait and he would be there in 5 min. He came introduced us to his father, and all 4 listened to his day, and Tom arranged for time next week for study. He had a bro conduct study while gone and it had went fine. The young father was very engaged with the conversation, commented on the study with other bro, and we listened to some of his adventures while Tom was away.(more on that at a later date perhaps) So after saying "adios" to younf son, wife and father we headed back to Dolores got home at 8:45pm, and promptly went to our bedroon in Tom & Debbies home, turned on Cards game and went to bed. What an exhausting day, but our 1st fullfilling day in the ministry! Hopefully the 1st of many. Sorry about length, will be more succinct in future. Just excited to see potential of future after making this life changing choice.  
A break at a 5 star restaurant- early dinner- between calls at Pozo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Week of Firsts

Enjoyed meal with Stacey, her husband Phil, and Adam & Sophia in pic with Stacey. Met them saw the rancho, they live on and got to visit with after meeting today at supper at Tom & Debbie's. husband Phil is studying with Tom, as well as oldest son Markus-13, Isaiah-9- and Adam-6. Debbie studies with Stacey. Debbie & Tom fixed a wonderful meal, that was enjoyed by all. Markus can speak & understand Spanish & english, may use him as my interpreter. They live on a farm/rancho about 600 acres, with cattle, pigs, turkeys, chickens, dogs and various other critters. I asked 1 of boys do they have any snakes since rancho is at about 7000 ft, he said not many they eat them!!!!! Food is scarce and all resources are used to feed family. Phil, the father, had 4 gallons of fresh milk from cows, he offered to bring in so they (Lipperds) can make homemade cheese. Very enlightening evening for us, the children sparkle when you talk to them. And I think 3 oldest boys all commented at WT! Tom & Debbie are doing an excellent job, and is gratifying for them to see progress.
Had First sunday meeting. started at 3PM, had a missionary who is visiting mother here, they are in Congo, Africa serving. And he will show a special slide presentation tomorrow for all. Can't wait to see pics of our brothers there in Congo, and how they do FS. They KH is nice, usable hall, and they had so many visitors and new move ins (7 this week) plus other ones to hear Bro. Compton speak, that they exceeded the memorial attendance, Had 70!! The WT conductor said it was a new peak for attendance at Dolores.
So while seating in KH, trying to focus, getting used to 3PM meeting, I hear this loud rooster crowing several times!! Can't ever being in a meeting and hearing that in 40 years.
Went house hunting this week with a sister who helps brothers moving in, she has been here longer than anyone. Saw a small 2 br, 1 bath furnished, then yesterday at noon, she showed us an another couple moving in maybe by January, 2 homes that were identical, side by side with a sidewalk between, 3 br, 1 1/2 bath, 2 story home, kitchen down with LR & DR down, and 3 br, and bath up. Very open, light, and has a washroom outside 2 nd floor br, with a patio off kitchen, that has a small peach tree there. So us & other couple took both homes, Its in a private drive with latched gate. We will have to furnish completely which is normal here. Will send inside pics later, but we are happy to have it available, only about 4 blocks from KH.
So we are finishing our 1st week, and the weather is perfect, about 40 in morning, then gets up to 70 or so, no humidity, clear blue skies, and the people seem very humble and kind. Very family oriented. Children are held in high esteem.
We will be busy in coming weeks getting house together, and so forth so won't be on a good schedule yet, but will get settled in, then try to get in FS more. Going on a study tomorrow with Tom at noon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Leaving Day! Ending a chapter & starting our new 1.

24 hours of Lasts & firsts!
Jared took me to Cards game last nite, last time to watch a game at Busch stadium, at least for awhile.
Last time to see Albert Pujols at Busch, for me seeing him in the birds on the bat uniform.
Last time to go to our favorite Cracker Barrel for BF. Had our 3 boys join us, and Jared's wife Stacey, and Jeremy's wife Miranda. Plus Jordan. So was very nice. Visited with Janine & her boys this morning before they got off to school & work. With having to adjust our departure schedule to accommodate  my knees getting sore after sitting for awhile, we needed to add extra driving day in to reach Laredo, Tx, to rendezvous with the Lipperds. So I had to be sure to get to see them for last time for a bit.
When you see your kids when you know there is not a tomorrow left to enjoy them, it is hard. But I thought of when Jehovah had to send his son to do a job here on earth, and while not comparable in importance, it is in a parent not wanting to be apart from his children, so Jehovah knows what is in our hearts too. hopefully we can help some people wanting to learn of a better future for their kids & themselves, and we can teach them about that hope. What a privilege that will be. So our kids know that is our motive, and they made our decision easier by also wanting that for these strangers they don't know, may never meet, but hope will listen & want to learn of Jehovah & his promise of a future much different than what man faces today.
Last- time loading our Blazer up for the trip to Mexico.- Sure glad we had Ralph put on the overload springs, since somehow Elaine squeezed in a few more items. My experience working as a teamster came in handy. Loading semi-trailers- you put as much freight in trailer as you could- the phrase was,"high & tight". Certainly applies, if you saw the pics of Blazer.
Firsts- leaving for mexico- to retire & serve there.- what will it be like? will we enjoy it right off the bat, or learn to adjust, adapt, and appreciate? How does the congregation go about things? How do they work the territory, in finding english speaking ones? Do you go door to door, or canvass, asking people you meet if they know of english speaking persons?
There will be much to learn- on so many levels. Learning to be retired. I still find myself looking at my jobsites on internet, to see if anyone needs a welding inspector. Old habits........
Firsts- disconnecting to instant news, phones, 24/7 onslaught of the senses in the ultra-modern world of St. Louis.
Firsts- the weather in Dolores Hildago- supposed to be dry there for months at a time! Will there be any green??????? From Missouri, where there is green everywhere to maybe no green for months??
I know when we took a vacation out west when the kids were young, and we came back from Calif, Ariz, NM, Texas, okla. were we ever happy to see Joplin, Mo and some trees, even if they seemed stunted! Is the weather & climate what they call high desert? brown, dry, and dusty? Thats is what I'm preparing myself for.
Lasts- our wonderful brothers in O'fallon, Mo cong. Large 150+ publishers, with many high quality sisters & brothers who comments were so well prepared- that many times you don't want to raise your hand, because someone much more interesting could comment with a wealth of research, and depth of understanding. The closeness of our service group. Where your group knows that you need a break, and makes sure you get one. Being able to listen to a large body of elders (15) handle parts, take the lead, and shepherd the flock, while sharing the load. Not sure if we will ever be in a cong that large again. Due to our schedule being changed, we missed out in one last goodbye party with them, but probably a good thing, because like family, you grow so close to them, and know of there individual qualities, pains, worries, strengths, and circumstances. You are part of the fabric of the congregation, so it feels like a tearing of that fabric, when thinking about leaving some older ones that you may not get to see again, because of systems god, and sickness. But you draw encouragement as you see them endure their trials, as they make the meetings, FS, and despite their age carry on as Heb. 6:9,10 says- where Jehovah knows of their past efforts and remembers their deeds of love for him. He doesn't forget, and we won't either.
So our journey has really begun! After 2 years of preparation, planning, testing, putting our trust in Jehovah to sell our house. Elaines superwoman efforts to simplify, and let all her furnishings, shoes (big one there) jewelry, go into storage, sell, give away, etc. We are on the initial leg of the trip/adventure.
Your Brothers
Tom & Elaine

Monday, October 3, 2011

house sale is done, we're officially homeless!

The closing went well, got Blazer checked over, put on some new rear shocks with overload springs, and ready to head for vacation. Next 8-9 days we'll be in Ohio, Ky, Tenn, GA to see family. Then it will be time for our Mexican adventure to really begin! All the planning, working, simplifying, packing, moving, storing and goodbye meals will be over. Then the down to earth effort to find a place to rent/live in and learning how to adapt to hopefully a slower pace, more balanced way of living, breathing, exercising, will occupy our days. Letting life come to us, and letting Jehovah direct our efforts to help find sheeplike people yearning for the truth, will replace the hustle, bustle of how we have been living here. Not that its wrong, just that maybe there is an alternative, a chance to smell the roses so to speak.
Elaine did her 1st laundry mat washing in a long time.
So we will enjoy this part of vacation then start the trip southwest to Dolores Hildago.