Church Planting among the Nahuatl

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Update on Pete

I just wanted to post and let everyone know how blessed Pete and I have been this week by all of you! We truly have an amazing partnership team.

I know most of you received our urgent prayer email, but if you didn’t, last Tuesday I took Pete to the hospital. He had been sick to his stomach for three days, and was feeling worse as each day passed.

After 4.5 hours in the hospital, an IV, and blood tests,  we left with prescriptions and a diagnosis of a bacterial intestinal infection…in short, an infection from something that Pete ate. We picked up the prescriptions and headed home.

Today, almost a week later, Pete is doing well. He’s gained alot of his strength back and is almost on a normal diet again! He’s feeling so much better!!

The Lord truly is faithful, He watches over His children and protects them in every way. We don’t know why this happened to Pete, we don’t even know what it is that he ate, but we do know that God uses all things, even the uncomfortable, painful, and unplanned things to teach us about Himself. I know personally that He gave me strength to push through my weekly activities alone, and protected me as I drove in the city in our big truck by myself. And God gave both Pete and I numerous hugs from all of you as emails flooded in letting us know you all were praying. So thank you, we truly felt God’s love through all of you.


One of the Most Effective Forms of Security in Latin America and a New Member of the Family

Well, in case you didn’t guess it, they’re the same thing: a dog.  For Pete’s birthday (ok, a couple weeks early) we got a puppy.  Dogs really are one of the most effective forms of security in the Latin world.  We’d been planning to get one for a while, so when some fellow missionaries here in Chihuahua had a litter of puppies available, we decided to take them up on it.  Meet our new guard dog, Murphy, the 75% Rottweiler, 25% Great Pyrenees puppy:

Murphy is a little over 6 weeks right now, and weighs about 10 lbs.  His father weighs 110 lbs, so he has some work to do.  We’re looking forward to him becoming a good guard dog and family pet as he grows.  Consider yourself introduced – now you’ll know who he is when he shows up in some of our pictures or future stories.  Here’s a few more pictures:

Liesl & Murphy

Quito and Murphy get to know each other

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It’s the Holiday Season!

We have reached the middle of October and I’m sure many of you are finding yourselves planning for, or at least thinking about the Holiday season. Thanksgiving is only a little over a month away…and there is so much Christmas shopping that needs to be done. Every time you walk into a store you are surrounded with reminders that the Holiday season of 2010 is upon us. Well, the same is true here in Mexico.

The fall and winter are also the festive months in the Mexican culture. Our last post depicted the details of the apple festival that we attended, and we have booked our calendars with all sorts of other events here in Mexico that we will be attending. Seems like fun right? You might wonder, “Why are Pete and Liesl attending all these events? I thought they were learning Spanish.” Well, we are, but we are also learning about the Mexican culture here in Chihuahua and also in the smaller pueblos throughout the country, as these cultures in and of themselves are very different. With all of the Mexican holidays coming up there are dozens of opportunities for us to learn why the Mexican people do the things they do on these holidays, think the way they think, and value what they value.  Our participation in these events gives us new insights into their culture, and are also great venues to practice our Spanish with our language helpers as we re-count these events to them in Spanish.

Starting the end of October and continuing through November and even December we will be posting about each of the holidays that we have observed here in Mexico and sharing photos and stories about them with all of you. Below I have mentioned several of the holidays and summarized what they are about – you can think of this as a preview for the culture we will be sharing with you all in the next couple months. Also, if you want or have extra time you can look into these holidays for yourself. Many of these holidays have Catholic, traditional, or a blend of origins.

31 de Octubre – Halloween

A borrowed holiday from the U.S., but many Mexicans participate in the same activities, dressing up and trick-or-treating. When arriving at homes, though, they don’t say “Trick or treat!”  Instead, they shout “Queremos Halloween” which basically means “We want Halloween.”

1 & 2 de Noviembre – Ninos Santos (1) & Dia de los Muertos (All Saints & Day of the Dead)

In most parts of Mexico, November 1, which is known as All Saints/Souls Day elsewhere, is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored November 2, the Day of the Dead (and Pete’s birthday!  Similar to if he were born on Halloween in the US).  The Day of the Dead is celebrated in varying degrees.  More to come on that.


20 de Noviembre – Dia de la Revolucion (Revolution Day)

This is the celebration and remembrance of the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. On this day Mexicans commemorate the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1917 which was initiated by Francisco I. Madero and put an end to the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.  Many battles were fought here in Chihuahua.  The old penitentiary two miles from our house still has bullet holes in it from the Revolution!

12 de Diciembre – Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

This is the day of the celebration of the Virgin de Guadalupe. There is a story of how she became so important among the Mexican people, but we will share that in the post dedicated to this day.
Our Lady of Guadalupe still underpins the faith of Catholics in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and she has been recognized as patron saint of Mexico City since 1737.
24 de Diciembre – Noche Buena ( The Good Night or Christmas Eve)

The Noche Buena is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast and celebrate the nativity – in short, Christmas.  What’s different for us Americans, though, is that the celebration concentrates more on the 24th than on the 25th.  Most families have a traditional, late night (think 12:00 AM) meal of tamales, ponche (a type of fruit punch), and pavo (turkey). Often there is a midnight mass as well.  These celebrations usually continue until near sunrise, as the families sing and celebrate together.
25 de Diciembre – La Navidad (Christmas)

On Christmas day, the big celebration is already over!  People often sleep late on Christmas, and then spend the day visiting their extended family or friends who do not have any family.
31 de Diciembre – Festejos de fin de Ano (New Years Eve)

Some families go on vacation for the New Years holiday to of the beautiful Mexican beach destinations. They often have a big feast, and someone watches the clock for the New Year.
Thanks for reading, and we are looking forward to sharing our experiences on each of these holidays with all of you. It is exciting to learn about a new culture, to grow and with the Lord’s help to understand and find ways to display Him there and reach the hearts of those who need Him. Thanks for praying for us, and hope you enjoy the updates!

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10th Annual Fiesta de la Manzana!

Yesterday we, (Pete, myself, two missionary friends Crystal and Amy, and our Mexican friend Jona), drove 2 hours into the countryside to a small town, Guerrero, for the 10th Annual Apple Festival. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but orchard apples in October, who wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth for those little crisp bundles of deliciousness. And…there are so many things you can make with apples, so now that we have a whole box sitting in our kitchen I better get busy.

On our way

First, I have to tell you little about the festival, some of the culture we observed, and show you some pictures. The apple festival was small and quaint. There were tents with vendors selling everything from jewelry and handmade crafts, to all sorts of apple products, tequila, and traditional Mexican comida (food). The smells of grilled meat for tacos filled the air, and everywhere you walked different vendors would draw you into their tents offering samples of their items for sale. We tasted ALOT!

A line of vendors

One of the vendors selling apple marmalade, butter, and honey

Pete enjoying a chocolate covered apple

Dried fruit and apple vinegars

They were selling tequila which had a dead rattlesnake in the bottle....I guess it adds flavor?

Some of the mexican plates on display

Miss Manzana?

After wandering around the festival for a bit and looking at the art exhibit they also had on display we placed an order with an orchard for 3 boxes for apples to take home with us. We had orders from a few friends here in Chihuahua for apples as well. While waiting for the apples we munched on apple-filled empanadas in the park and listen to Mexican music.

Apple art

The violin apple

And the weird red iron apple

Empanadas in the park

Scenery from the back of the park

When our apples arrived we headed back home. But our trip would not be complete without a stop for pizza on the way home. Chihuahua does not have good pizza, so the pizza in route to Guerrero was definitely a treat. After an exhausting day in the sun, it was in the 90s, we headed home.


We enjoyed experience a bit of the Mexican traditions for fall, and even though it doesn’t exactly feel or look like what we are used to…it is starting to feel like home. It definitely helps that I found squash at the grocery store this morning…you have no idea how excited I was, but we’ll leave that for another post. First on the agenda for the morning, shopping in El Centro with my language helper Ana, for canning jars…yes Mom, I’m canning, Liesl style. Apple butter anyone?