My day started with the second scorpion in two days hanging out in our bedroom. Whapping poisonous creatures is always a fun and invigorating way to start the day. The weird thing is how one sighting ignites automatic, learned responses. Shake out the towel before enveloping your dripping post shower self. Flip pillows around before cozying in for the night. Peek at the underside of mop buckets before manhandling their unwieldily plastic mass. It’s just wise to revise their historically favorite haunts.

I was busy ensuring the death of the arachnid when the kids started filtering in. Which is why I forgot to shout in motherly fashion “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!” to my newly minted 10 year old. We made up for it though and as I write, he is in the midst of double digit birthday bliss.

He is our biggest lover of home. A swinger of machetes. A shooter of arrows and BB’s. A project planner, hole digger, shelter builder. He knows more about bamboo and bird calls and the lay of the land than I could ever hope to.

Which is why we are home for his birthday. I feel like that was one of the best gifts we could give him.

Our planning meeting conclusion then was to leave exactly on May first for a month in Villahermosa. Despite our bloated birthday state, this is D-day minus 2–preparations for departure have begun!

Which is why I thought I’d better shoot this post out to the world before the news of the last week fades into journalistic irrelevance.

We were in Carmen back at my last post (feels like years ago. I think in reality it’s just been 2 weeks). It was a super encouraging time with several different ones attending the nightly gospel meetings. The believers pulled together in unity, laboring with God for the sake of lost souls. We don’t know of any who professed salvation but sometimes the gospel is almost more needed by Christians themselves. That is one thing I miss about the US. A long summer series of gospel meetings in a packed tent. The singing, the power, the energy, the wonderful, wonderful message of Jesus Christ who loved me and gave himself for me.

Once home again (literally that very night), we began a week of gospel meetings in our home. Common to homes in the tropics, we have an outdoor paved patio with a thatched roof. David and the men went out each morning, visiting each home with a John 3:16 text and a verbal invitation to attend. Feet shuffling through sand, the sun beating her merciless rays–truly a carnally unappealing labor. It is only a wonder from heaven to think that little patio has been home now more than once of a soul translated from paths of darkness to the road of life. That a basic, simple structure has seen such marvelous, eternal change is humbling, amazing, God-glorifying.

We served a drink after each meetings and it is at times like these I realize how Mexicanized I have become. No 10 gallon thermos of iced tea, hygienically served from the spout. We made, on different days, horchata (rice water), jamaica (sorrel), watermelon, orange, and cold chamomile tea in big bowls, then serve out each cup by dipping a serving cup into the liquid and pouring it into each cup. I mean, it is way more time efficient–as my daughter reminded me after learning about the work of Frank Gilbreth–despite the obvious drawbacks.

So now we look forward to a month in Villahermosa, a little under 2 hours from home. We plan to help the congregation there with open air meetings and making new contacts. Admittedly, our energy and vigor is lagging after the efforts of the last month. Please pray our strength will be renewed for the work that awaits us there.

Although we do often talk about how it is good to be weak sometimes. Keeps us where we need to be. Not marching as victorious soldiers on to conquer new territories, but rather as dependent slaves upon the best of Masters who is the liberal Giver of wisdom and strength….and occasionally, thorns in the flesh….then, too, sufficient grace.

Heading out now to a house meeting in the next town over.

Thank you for being our coworkers.

May God bless you abundantly for your kindness in remembering his slaves in the field.

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