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It is hard to believe that another trip is drawing to a close. There were so many memorable times that it was impossible to share them all on our website. Everyone has many expierences, each viewed a little different and touching thier lives in different ways. That is only what has affected our lives - we can't begin to understand how we have touched the people here in El Paso. The kids learning about Jonah, the roofing project, the flooring project, painting building 13, picking up trash on the YLM Campus and the trailer load of donated back packs, school supplies, socks and underwear and all the other items we brought....

Yes the devil is hard at work in Juarez to keep Christianity from spreading, but with the dedication of the people at Ysleta Lutheran Mission and all the volunteers - with the help of God - are winning.

Update: Friday August 6, 2010

Today is our last day. We went to Rosa's house to finish the roofing project. We got there early to get the tar paper, tar and roofing paper laid before it hit the predicted 100 degrees. We started at 8:30 and by 11:30 the project was done and we were in clean up mode.


Finishing the roof project.


Here is our crew pictured with Rosa between Pastor and Mike.

Some required more clean up than others - newspaper and duct tape to prevent Ashley's arms from touching her shirt which was covered with tar.

Update: Thursday August 5, 2010

We wrapped up Vacation Bible School with the Veggie Tales movie for all the children.  After the movie the children played soccer, had fun with bubbles, made some great crafts, sang some songs and had hot dogs and ice cream for lunch!  What a great way to end the wonderful week that we had.  Many memories were made and lives were touched, by both the children and the group that brought he message.  Below is John, Sonya and Berndine serving up ice cream cones.

Myron and John tell it all.  They were a big part of a great team that brought the wonderful message of Jesus to the children of San Pablo! Many thanks to St John's and St Paul's for the support, both financially and spiritually!

Today, we stayed on the Ysleta Lutheran Mission Campus and took on the task of painting building 13 where the full time volunteers stay. Our painting skills were put to test - some passed and some, well take a look and you decide.

Pastor took the time to paint over graffite on the entrance to YLM Campus.

Sonya and Bernadine volunteered to help assemble back-packs with school supplies. They worked on a line in the Grain Train storage building. English was not understood by most, so as thier box of supplies ran out, they were told to slap someone to get thier attention. Thank goodness those instructions weren't given to our painting crew!

 

Update: Wednesday August 4, 2010

We had our last day of performing the skit and had the children participate. We had 4 sailors, 3 Ninevites in the beginning and 3 at the end. They did a great job playing thier roles. Our group of amazing youth...Mike, Christian, Andrew and Ashley, otherwise known as Jonah, Captain, Sailor and Ninevite...have pulled together the story of Jonah and played it out for all!!! We are excited for our final day of VBS. The children will get to see the movie about the story of Jonah, and they will be able to take all of what they have learned and apply it through the story and ultimately into their lives.

Crafts are enjoyed by all the children and take the help of all of our group, especially for the challenge of the language barrier.  Praise be that we have John along.

We talked about baptism today, how we all die in our sins and are resurrected through the cross, so obviously we played with water.  The water balloons were a big hit.  Below is the courtyard where we played soccer, games and also where we fed the children lunch.

Our construction projects included roofing, but we also had a home where we tiled two rooms of a home that another group had built.  Below is Kristine, with help from the 3 little girls that will get to enjoy their new space.  When they walked into the room for the first time...they DANCED on the new floor!

Construction is progressing on the home that was leaking.  We have the rafters and plywood on and are ready to begin the tarring.  Once again, our crew is fantastic!  All of the youth have learned a new trade.

 

 

Update: Tuesday August 3, 2010

Another busy VBS day as we included several of the kids in the skit. They really got into being sailors as they helped row the boat and throw the cargo overboard. One of the girls even helped the captian throw Jonah overboard. As they get to know us better, they are opening up and getting more involved.

We started the day with chalk drawing on the concrete. Some were very creative.


And of course - the food is great!

We continued with our roofing project and made great progress until we ran out of sheeting.

 

Update: Monday August 2, 2010

Jonah was related to the children of the El Paso area at the 1st Vacation Bible School held by the St John's and St Paul's Vergas Lutherans.  What a grand happening!  The children we welcomed at the door by Pastor, John, and Mal, singing praises to the Lord.

 Our Worship started out with songs and prayer.

The skit was wonderfully played out, telling the story from the Bible.  We made instruments during craft time to be used during the closing devotion songs led by Pastor Hinckley. 

 

We played games in the courtyard and were able to provide lunch for all the children. 

 

After VBS, we headed to a home that had a habitual leaking roof. 2 attempts by volunteer groups were made last year and Kristine was familiar with the project. This time, we are putting a new roof over the exhisting roof. Only Erin and Kristine have been on the roof because it is in so tough shape, we could allow much weight on it. Our first day got us well underway and we halted work early because of heat and the need to buy brackets for our rafters as they were splitting on us.

 

Update: Sunday August 1, 2010

Morning came early and we enjoyed one of Rita's great breakfasts. We attended the English service followed by a Bible study lead by Jeanette Heimer (Pastor's wife). We then atttended the Spanish service. It started at 11:30am Mexican time. In other words when most attendees where there, we started!


Sunday's Spanish Divine Service

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Afterwards, we were able to talk with some of the childern and thier parents and invite them to VBS.


And we were blessed to have Pastor and Jeanette Heimer join us for lunch

Update: Saturday July 31, 2010

We left Tucumcari at 8:20am after a great night of rest and a fill of ice for the ground meat that we brought down.  We traveled through some beautiful diverse country, from the desolate sage and tumble weeds that go on forever without many signs of civilization, to the busy cities of Santa Rosa, Los Cruces and eventually El Paso. Our stop at the White Sands National Park was eventful.  We had a picnic lunch, and a great devotion in the park, by the dunes, watching the thunder clouds moving in.  Alas, when we hit the first dune to go sledding, once again, in the desert, it started to rain! Go figure!  Anyway, we and lasted out the rain and had a wonderful afternoon, playing in the sand!

Our arrival at the Ysleta Lutheran Mission was Kristine waiting at the door for us! How welcoming is that!!!!  We had orientation, found out our projects for the week as well as a few rules, and then headed out to fill our bodies with Cici's pizza! We closed out our evening, with the anticipation of service at San Pablo at 9on Sunday morning, then a Bible Study to follow and the Spanish Service at 11:30.  We pray for a restful night, and thank all those who are praying for us and for our spiritual well being. 

Update: Friday July 30,2010

Scheduled to leave at 7:00am - getting better, left shortly after 7am. It was a longer day, we put on approx. 630 miles. It was a challenge finding wayside rests on the 2-lane roads. Some were pretty primitive. We stopped at the city park in Larned, KS for noon. The guys tried to feed the ducks, but were unsuccessful.

We had a picnic lunch and a short Bible study in which we discussed references in other parts of the Bible to Jonah.  "The word of the LORD came to Jonah..."

From there we took a long afternoon drive out of Kansas (never did see Toto) thru Oklahoma, the upper part of Texas & into Tucumcari, New Mexico. Nothing to see except sage, yuccas, huge feedlots, several antelope and even one lonely pheasant. The outside temp on our vans read 99-101 degrees most of the afternoon. We found a great local restaurant here and had an excellent meal with a local flare. We thank our prayer partners and everyone that remembers us in their prayers. We have been blessed with another safe day of travel. 

Update: Thursday July 29, 2010

Scheduled departure from St. Paul's - 6:30am. Actual departure was 7:02am with some packing that was tougher than herding cats.

We had our first stop at the rest area just north of Summit, SD. Had a little brunch and headed down the road. Our plans to stop in Sioux Falls was changed by a t-storm and didn't stop until we were 35 miles past Sioux City, Iowa. We had our lunch -roast elk sandwiches (see what you all are missing). From there we arrived in Seward, Ne. at Concordia University. We had a great tour of the campus and facilities. From there we drove 42 miles to a town 10 miles south of here to have an evening meal with Pastor Hinckley's cousin Terry. The pizza was great and we learned alot (maybe too much) about Pastor as he was growing up.

It's 9:30pm, we are at the dorms at Concordia, everyone is on cell phones or getting ready for a night of rest. We were truly Blessed with safe travel today and look forward to tomorrow.

Update: July 25, 2010

As the St. John's & St. Paul's YLM Team prepare to leave, we want to share an email from Erin, the YLM volunteer coordinator. As we have re-assured everyone that the mission takes our safety serious, here is thier response to the escalating violence in Juarez. Proof that the devil is working hard to keep the spreading of the Gospel out of Juarez. 

Sherri, Myron, and Sonya--

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm afraid there will be a change of plans regarding your servant events in two weeks. Perhaps you heard about the motivation for this change in the news where you are, but if not, there was a car bombing in Juarez last Thursday. The exact location has not been released, but it was somewhere near downtown. Four people were killed, including a federal police officer, and 20 others were injured. This is uncharted territory for us, as this is the first time a bombing has occurred in relation to the cartel violence that has been plaguing the city for several years now.

On top of that, a graffiti message was found on Saturday stating that a second bombing would occur in 15 days if the police did not weed out their corrupt officers and stop "supporting" the rival cartel. That date would be August 1, the Sunday when your groups are here.

There are many unknowns right now, such as whether the threat is real or just talk, and so in order to make good on our promise that we will take whatever action is necessary to protect the safety of our staff and volunteers, we are going to ask that you re-route your efforts to the families and missions God has placed before us on the U.S. side of the border.

This is a disappointing situation for us all, but Chris and I will work hard to create a plan B's for both of you; I'll e-mail you each individually later on to discuss exactly what those might include. I hope that we can work together to make your time here as worthwhile and fulfilling as possible, and I will keep your planning in my prayers as I'm sure this will mean extra time and effort on your part as well.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns or questions, and we'll be in touch soon! God certainly has a plan in mind for your time here, and I am anxious to find out what that may be!

Erin

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