Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pictures from the VBS Graduation

Today was the VBS graduation day. Several parents joined their children in singing, praying, and hearing about the weeks' lessons.

Of course, we also threw a party. The Spiderman pinata was huge--it held about 25 pounds of candy--and much sturdier than we thought. We probably didn't need the men on the roof keeping it moving, as it turned out to be nearly indestructible.

Praise and worship

The pinata held about 25 pounds of candy 

No tree to hang it from? No problem.

The moment everyone has been waiting for

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Final Day of the Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS

Guest blogger Pastor Ken Greenlee

The 2015 Teach Us to Pray, Huejotzingo, Mexico VBS is in the books, except for the Sunday graduation service.  We had a total of 51 registrants, a number of whom were kids who had not participated in any of our events before.  Many moms brought their kids each day to the sign-in.  We hope to see a number of parents at the closing ceremonies Sunday afternoon.  The kids recite all of the memory verses they learned during the week and Abraham gives a summary message regarding what the children learned during the week.  We also serve light refreshments, which everyone always appreciates.

One of the most moving things for me yesterday was at the end of the last lesson when the writer of Hebrews completed his story about how Abraham was a man of great faith.  He had spoken about Jesus being the ultimate source and object of true faith.  He then led all of the kids in a prayer in which they acknowledged that they had a personal faith in Jesus as the Son of God.  Very touching to see their heads bowed, eyes closed, hands folded as they expressed this simple measure of faith.

While the volunteers were cleaning up, I was already transferring pictures from the day to my computer so I could post them to FaceBook and finish the PowerPoint for Sunday.  I completed that by about 7:30 p.m.  Then we went to a neighbor’s house for coffee.  This couple were volunteers during the week.  When I was here in 2013 they had also volunteered.  At that time they were expecting their first child, who is now a two-year old boy.  The husband had some things he wanted to ask me.

We wound up talking until almost midnight.  Some of the men he works with are Catholic.  They have a lot of beliefs that are not consistent with an evangelical understanding of Scripture and he wanted to know how to respond to some of the questions they ask or comments they make during various discussions of faith.  As I’ve mentioned previously, the Catholicism in this area of Mexico is not Christianity, but rather a gross twisting and misunderstanding of the Bible combined with former pagan practices that were prevalent in this location centuries past (syncretism).

We had a good discussion of how Catholicism elevates tradition to the level of Scripture and how various things came into their belief system over time, especially as concerns Mary.  The Virgin of Guadalupe (a perversion of the Biblical, historical Mary) is worshiped as a virtual goddess here in the area around Huejotzingo.  She is the one people rely upon for their salvation and the one to whom they pray.  She is the supreme deity, not Jesus or God the Father.  Then there is the archangel, Michael, who is second in their pantheon.

We talked about how all he can do is present the truth of the Bible as he talks to his co-workers.  We have to rely upon the Holy Spirit to open their eyes and ears so they can receive the truth God offers.  God alone draws men to Himself.  And He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a true faith in God, as we pray the kids at our VBS and in our various classes throughout the year are doing.

On another note, Rachel and Abraham took my grandson to the doctor after VBS was over.  He does not have any sign of infection.  His throat is fine, his lungs are clear.  Thanks be to God for answered prayer.  He needs to drink more liquids.  This is a boy who would rather play than do almost anything else.  He is high energy.  His mom has to side track him while he runs by to get him to eat or drink anything.  We had chocolate cake last evening with our coffee.  He loves chocolate cake!  He ate about two bites before running off to play with toys.  As he rode by on a small car, Rachel would catch him and make him drink some of his yogurt drink.  She didn’t even attempt to tempt him back to his cake.  He ate that when we got home around midnight.

Thanks for your prayers for Rachel and Abraham and their kids as they continue their work here in this part of God’s creation.

Appreciate your prayers for my last few days here.  We have some more shopping to do today for Sunday.  Then we will visit the plot of land we purchased at the end of last year where we will build our new TUtP center, hopefully starting soon as funds are available.  We have final preparations for the VBS graduation.  We plan to travel on Monday to a town that is about 2 hours away by bus.  The folks there make a wide variety of Christmas ornaments that are the source of income for the entire community.

The author of Hebrews writing about Abraham's faith

The final day's verse

Behind the scenes prep

A crossword based on all 5 days' stories

A scroll with the pictures from all the days on it

The author of Hebrews talks about Abraham's faith


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 4 of the Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS

Guest Blogger Pastor Ken Greenlee

I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of our 2015 Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS.  It looks like we will have directly affected the lives of around 50 individual kids.  We have had an attendance of around 40 each day, but some kids don’t come back every day and some new kids join each day.  This has been a very fruitful time of ministry impacting the lives of these children and their parents.

I help prepare handouts or whatever needs done to get things ready each day.  I’m the chief photographer, I set up the multimedia equipment each day and I handle most of the publicity.  I’ve been preparing the PowerPoint we will use at the graduation ceremony on Sunday when some of the parents of the kids come to watch their kids perform.  Rachel and Abraham will also use the PowerPoint to show at Dios es Amor, their home church that has done so much to support their ministry over the years.

Yesterday the batteries in my camera died just at the end of the day.  Off to the market to buy a new set of batteries.  Started taking pictures and shooting videos first thing this morning, only to have the new batteries fail at around 2 p.m.  I grabbed the camera I brought with me this trip for Rachel and Abraham and started using it, only to have the batteries run dry on it after about 3 minutes.  Fortunately I got most of the day covered.

Off early this evening to buy another three sets of batteries at a local store.  I trust I will get all the pictures I need tomorrow and Sunday without further difficulty, but don’t want to take any chances, hence the spares.  I thought batteries had a shelf life of some 12-15 years.  Wonder how long the ones I bought yesterday had been in inventory?

Please be in prayer for a great finale to our VBS tomorrow.  This has been a lot of effort to put on, especially on the part of Rachel and Abraham who have stayed up as late as 2 a.m. each day getting things together for the next day.  It is worth the effort to watch these kids enjoy themselves and learn about God and His love and faithfulness.

Now an old man, Abraham tells his story to the children.
God promised Abraham that his descendants would outnumber the stars
Photographer, blogger, and Power Point Maker

For snack, Rachel and Abraham cut Stars out of 22 large cucumbers to represent the number of descendants God promised Abraham.

The kids used star stickers to show the stars in the sky representing God's promise to Abraham.
Thanks and Blessings!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 3 of the Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS

Guest Writer Pastor Ken Greenlee

We discovered early this morning that the schools were registering students today.  That usually does not happen until August.  There were long lines in front of the schools as parents and kids waited their turn to complete the process.  Every student must register each year.  These are the same kids who should be coming to our VBS.  We didn’t know how that would affect attendance.  We need not have been concerned.  We had 38 kids, only 3 fewer than yesterday, and some of those who came were new.

It was another great day with a lot of fun games, food, memory verses and the story of Abraham being called to sacrifice Isaac.  He was a man of great faith who obeyed God without question.  The kids enjoyed the tale, as Rachel played the part of Rebecca talking about what Isaac had told her regarding what happened that day.  He was tied down on the wood and his father raised a knife to take his life when suddenly God called out and stopped the process, providing a ram as an offering instead.

I’ve always wondered what Isaac thought about all that happened that day.  Must have been quite traumatic.  What conversations he and Abraham must have had in the weeks and months afterwards, until Isaac finally understood what was in his father’s mind at the time.  Abraham knew God could raise Isaac from the dead, since God had promised it would be through Isaac that the promises would be fulfilled.

My grandson continues in perfect health, though he mentioned to his mom that he had seen something evil yesterday.  We prayed with him this morning after his mother and father explained that if anything like that appears to him again, he has the ability to tell it to go away in the Name of Jesus.  Another lesson in faith.

I’m beginning to assemble a PowerPoint presentation we will use during the graduation ceremony.  Rachel and Abraham will also show it at Dios es Amor, the church they are affiliated with here in Mexico.  Some of the volunteers that are coming each day are from that congregation, though there are two neighbors and volunteers from other churches who are helping as well.

Appreciate your prayers for ongoing health and stamina as we go into the 4th day tomorrow.

And the relay race is run!

Adding fleece to the ram. God provided a ram in Isaac's place.

Thank God for volunteers!

Thanks and Blessings!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 2 of the Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS

Guest Writer Ken Greenlee

Our second day of VBS started very early. My grandson had a very high fever and a lot of pain in his side, so my daughter woke me up at 7 a.m. to pray for him. We anointed him with oil and did an hour of soaking prayer. By 8 a.m. his temperature was normal and he was soundly and peacefully asleep. He remained in excellent health all day with no further meds or doctor visit required.

We had 41 youngsters at our second day of VBS. Some of the kids were ones who had never been to the TUtP center before. That’s just awesome. I mentioned yesterday that several moms brought their kids to registration. This is great, as it shows both trust and interest in what Rachel and Abraham are doing here in Huejotzingo, Mexico. They have lived here for 4 years, but working in the area together for 7 years. Before they were married, Abraham had been working for another 5 years. We have purchased land to build a new center to take the place of the property we now rent. Hope to begin building sometime soon, depending upon funding.

Just like yesterday, the kids had a fantastic time playing games, eating, singing, listening to Bible stories and memorizing the Bible verse of the day. So many of the kids we work with come from difficult situations at home. They really enjoy the one-on-one contact with loving, concerned, safe adults who so obviously care for them.

Craft time

Hula hoop racing

The adult volunteers join the fun

Frozen treats


Storytime with Lot and Sarah

Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 1 of the Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS

Guest writer Ken Greenlee Day 1 of the Huejotzingo, Mexico, Teach Us to Pray VBS is in the books. It was a great day. We had 31 kids, which for day 1 is the best ever. Usually the attendance builds, with some kids not returning but with more new ones coming each day than those that don’t return. We have 13 helpers, some from the neighborhood and some from Dios Es Amor, the church Rachel and Abraham are affiliated with. The church also provides equipment and some funds. I was interested to see how many mothers brought their kids to register. Most often the kids come by themselves. I think the interest of the parents is an encouragement. They know Rachel and Abraham and greet them as their kids get their name tags and are assigned to their age group for various activities. And a number of parents came to the closing ceremonies as well.

The snack: The lamb is made of a giant marshmallow with a gummy blackberry for a head

Lining up to register

Racing through the hoops

Lot tells his story

Saturday, July 11, 2015


I can count on my fingers, it seems, the number of days this year when no one in our family has been ill.  None of the illness, so far, has been particularly bad, but it feels like we´ve had a steady stream of coughs, colds, and unidentified fevers.  It all started on New Year´s Eve with Abish throwing up a few times.  On Jan.1, he was droopy and nauseated, so we took him to the doctor, and he started
a throat and mouth infection
antibiotics.  As I write, he is recovering from a throat infection, complete with open sores.  For that, he had to suffer through three shots, because the doctor said many of the throat infections are resistant to a variety of antibiotics.  Although the shots are over, he still has to take an expectorant and swish baking soda water around his mouth several times daily.

Leilani hasn´t escaped illness either.  After recovering in June, with the help of ampicilin, from a month-long cough, last night, for no apparent reason, she came down with a fever.  We gave her medicine to bring her temperature down, and during the night, she seemed better.  In the morning she had a fever again, but after more paracetamol, she has been mostly okay all day.  We´re keeping an eye on her to see if her immune system can handle the infection or if she will need antibiotics yet again.

Abraham and the kids have had different colds, too.

Please pray for us.  Pray for health, and pray for protection from curses.  Huejotzingo is steeped in witch craft,and there are quite a few people who are not happy we´re teaching the Gospel here.  We don´t know for sure if anyone has tried to put a curse on us, but it is a strong possibility.  Pray too as we prepare for our VBS which is July 20 - 24, with the closing July 26.