Church Planting among the Nahuatl

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On the Road….Finally

The sun rose on us in El Paso, TX this morning, another reminder of God’s mercies new every morning and His faithfulness that is never-ending for us, His children.

I’ve been reading through Psalms this month, a book I haven’t read in awhile, and the Lord has encouraged me so much through it. This week has brought alot of changes, a bit of a displaced feeling as we travel, but yet a complete peace that we are exactly where the Lord wants us right now.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” Ps. 37:23,24

We have truly felt the Lord’s delight as we are learning what it means to trust that He has established our steps, and He may allow us to fall, but He holds us in His hand, nothing is out of His desire for us, and His longing to have relationship with us.

Wisconsin disappeared into the distance as we left the familiar, our friends, family and churches last Thursday and embarked on the first leg of our journey south to Mexico. Our Muscanero family goodbyes were said Wednesday night as we all spent time together over some delicious Italian food. Thank you, Mom & Dad Muskie for a yummy dinner and Jay & Lins, Mike & Tessa and all our awesome nephews and niece for coming to say goodbye. We love you all and will miss you very much!

Nephew Paxton, gets read to pray

Our niece Maddie, enjoys bread, olive oil, and alot of cheese

Liesl's brother Mike & his family. We love you guys!

Liesl's brother Jay & his family. Thanks for all the great times together, we'll miss you guys so much!

  Our first day, on the road, we drove 9.5 hours to Camdenton, MO and were warmly welcomed by our friends Grant & Alana Mayer at the Missionary Training Center there. It was so excited to have the opportunity to spend some time with them since it had been about 6 months since we had last seen them. Also, while we were at the MTC we were able to spend some time with Matt & Starr Arnold, a couple who are serving (currently on furlough)  in a tribal work in Mexico, and Jonathan & Rachel Wilcock, the tribal coordinator for the field of Mexico. We were not expecting this so it was a very welcome surprise to have a lunch and dinner with both couples.

Preparing dinner with Alana

Making cupcakes for the masses

Saying our goodbyes to the Mayers

And to our friend Sam

Next stop, Oklahoma City, where we stayed with friends Travis & Audra King. Travis it was great to meet you, and we loved spending time talking with you both. Thanks for opening your home to us! Monday night we also had dinner with Luke & Karen, Robert & Paula, some of Liesl’s friends from her time working for the IBLP ministry. It was great to see everyone, thank you for all of your prayers for us and your interest in Mexico. It was great to catch up on your lives as well.

We left OKC bright and early Tuesday morning for our 11 hour drive to El Paso! The trip was uneventful, even though we did have a bit of snow and ice to drive through in northern Texas. A definite surprise, but we made it.

This was the most snow we had seen on the drive since we left Wisconsin

Liesl driving through the rough weather

Once we dropped south on I20 and then down to I10 the sun came out and it was blue and sky and gorgeous for the rest of the drive.

Getting closer to El Paso!

Hitting up Starbucks with our Christmas gift cards

We arrived in El Paso around 7:45 pm and the city was beautiful, all the lights at the base of the moutains shone brightly. We couldn’t really get a great picture from in the car, but here is a little glimpse.

El Paso at night

We are now at the New Tribes guest facility in El Paso, getting some projects done today so we are ready for border crossing. We will meet with our National Culture and Language course advisors tomorrow for an orientation time and then head for Mexico!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support on this journey so far, we are incredibly excited for what the future holds and can only pray that the Lord will continue to mold us into what He wants us to be as we learn to depend on Him for all things.

Check back for another update as we move into our new home in the next couple of days!!

Good Morning from El Paso!

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Be My Valentine & Goodbye to Milwaukee

It feels weird to say it, but we have just spent our last weekend in Wisconsin. It was a good one. We decided to give our engine a good test run and travel down to Waukesha to spend some time with Pete’s family and say goodbye before our departure to Mexico on Thursday. On the agenda, dinner and lunch at a couple favorite spots, an afternoon at the Milwaukee Art Museum, games with the family, breakfast with a friend, and of course coffee at the most fabulous coffee house in all of Wisconsin, Alterra on the Lakefront.

Our time was well enjoyed, they spoiled us, we laughed alot and we prayed for our time in Mexico. Thank you, Dad & Mom Hypki for a lovely weekend!

Mary on the balcony as we entered the Museum

View of the lakefront from the glass wall of the art museum

The fantastic architecture in the lobby

There was an amazing display of glass in the museum. It seemed as if you touched it, it would shatter.

Pete found his perfect poster

A little goofing off

And a nice one

While in Milwaukee Pete and I set out to the grocery store to pick up a few things for our planned Valentines Day dinner on Sunday night. Trying to decide what to do for the holiday we decided to stay in and cook up some Chinese, along with a yummy treat for Pete’s sweet tooth. 🙂 On the menu, Cashew Shrimp w/Snow Peas, brown rice, and salad with Sesame Ginger dressing. For dessert Chocolate Ganache’ cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

Starting with some quality butter


Always smart to feed the cook!

Preparing the cupcakes for the ganache' filling

Piping in the ganache'

 In between cooking we took a quick trip to the mall to pick up a pair of running shoes for Pete, and also to take a quick romantic walk on the riverwalk overlooking the Wisconsin River. It was chilly, so we walked fast.

Sunset over the Wisconsin River

It was a very cold walk...looking forward to Mexico

Arriving back home we started on dinner, cooking together is great, we don’t do it often enough. Pete made the salad and rice, while I prepped and cooked the Cashew Shrimp. Dinner was delicious!

Love the smell of ginger!

Pete says "Kiss the cook"

After dinner we frosted the cupcakes

Just another photo to make you drool

Dessert was enjoyed with steaming mugs of coffee and a movie. Pete and I don’t usually get each other gifts for holidays, mostly so we can save money. So for Valentines I wrote him a little letter (we used to do this all the time when we were dating) and Pete made me a “Love Box.” It is so cute! It’s a little tin container decorated on the outside and the inside is filled with small slips of paper that have memories written on them. Memories of things we have done together, or great times we have had together that we don’t want to forget. I loved it, it was so thoughtful and creative!!  Great ending to a lovely Valentines celebration.

Our next blog post will come from on the road, as we leave for Mexico in two days!! Stay tuned!!

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The little engine that couldn’t get here. But then did.

First things first – to all of you have missed our more frequent posts, we apologize, and promise to be better about posting as we head to Mexico.  That’s right, I said “head to Mexico,” as in we’re not there yet.  So we apologize, once more, that our not being in Mexico yet is news to some of you.  We have tried to keep all our friends and family in the loop, but know we have missed some.  So here is the whole story…

This is what our car looked like when Liesl bought it almost four years ago...

In mid-December, we were leaving Liesl’s parents house when I (Pete) heard five loud clunks after starting our car.  We could tell, when driving it, that the engine was running hard, especially when the RPM’s got high.  We had it looked at by a friend, who sent us to a mechanic here in Baraboo, who told us the unfortunate news…the engine had internal damage.  He suspected the balance shafts, which showed severe damage after he took it apart.  Our only option was a used engine, which we ordered just after Christmas, and were originally told, would arrive just after the New Year.  It would be close, but we thought we would still be able to leave as planned on January 6th.

Our engine, post-breakdown.

Well, New Year’s came and went and the engine didn’t arrive, but we were told it would be here in a week.  Then the next week came and went – and still we were told it would be another week.  Now it was the 19th.  We were two weeks past our original departure date.  We called once more, and were told, still one more week.  That week came and went, and there was no engine.  And finally, we called and cancelled our order, and placed an order for a new engine with a new company, who delivered the engine last Friday, the 29th  – just four days after we ordered it.

We don’t know why the engine took so long to arrive.  We have talked to many people who have encouraged us, and told us they are sure there is a reason and that it is all in God’s timing, and maybe we will know why some day.  Yet as I have thought about it, I’m not sure I ever really need to know why it happened.  When I stop and think about all we did in the past month that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we were in Mexico, it really was a blessed month.

Our apartment's backyard on the Baraboo River

We were able to meet with a number of friends, supporters, and a couple of pastors, that we wouldn’t have had time to meet with if we left on January 6th as we planned.  We had extra time to spend with family, eating, relaxing, and playing games that we wouldn’t have had either.  We had time to take a little bit of a breath after the holidays and packing, which also wouldn’t have happened.  I was able to read a book I’d been meaning to read that challenged my perceptions of the Church’s form and function (Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna).  I saw my wife trounce my whole family, including me, in a game of indoor mini golf.  And we had time to learn to wait – to learn that God is God, and He is good, whether or not we know what He is doing, or what His plans are.  We had time to simply listen to Him, to rest in Him, and even though there was no divine voice saying “This is why you’re still here” – we were encouraged because we felt His presence, and that was enough. And whether we spent an extra month here for all of those reasons, or just one of them, it is okay.  It was a good month.

One of our pastimes this month - watching our nephew Pax

And who knows – maybe that was the lesson.  Maybe what God wanted to teach us was simply that it is okay to wait on Him, with no clue why we’re waiting, and to trust Him in the midst of it.  I shared in the past newsletter, that I had been reading John, and in chapter 21, Jesus explains to Peter how he will die.  Peter asks Jesus, “What about him?” referring to John.  I don’t know why Peter asks this – perhaps he was questioning why Jesus was telling him this, or if he was the only one who would go through it.  Regardless, Jesus’ response in verse 22 spoke to me:  “What is that to you?  You follow Me!”

When I asked God why, or questioned why we were still here, that verse reminded me that the most important thing now, as in any time of life, is simple obedience to Him – following Him, regardless of cost, regardless of time spent waiting.  You – we – are called to follow Him.

There were 83 bald eagles spotted along the Baraboo River this January. When I went outside I counted 23 on the stretch of river by our apartment. And by the time I got my camera out, these are the only 2 that were left.

Our car is now being worked on.  The engine arrived last Friday, and our mechanic hopes to be finished with it by this Saturday, the 6th.  Our hope is to leave for Mexico a week from today.  But if that doesn’t happen, we will seek to follow Him in our response to it, knowing that His plans are never delayed.

Liesl packing up our little apartment

Apparently Liesl REALLY enjoys packing...

Liesl's cat was glad we were here an extra month. Maybe.