Today, and every new day, may our family shine for the Son in Mexico

BIENVENIDOS A LAZARO CARDENAS

Thank you for visiting with our family here in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico. It's great here on the tropical Mexican Pacific Coast! Grab a coffee and enjoy our time together!

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“Adios, Mexico”–No, It’s better to say, “Hasta La Vista, Mexico!”

Our family has experienced a change of scenery from THIS:

Aa1. Miramar (7)

To THIS: 5. change of scenery for us (6)

Our tropical coastal life of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico has been replaced by the cooler prairies in the “Land of the Living Skies” of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  A horizon of shell-filled sand and sparkling Pacific Ocean has been replaced by a horizon of endless plains and big-blue sky.  What a difference five thousand kilometers and five days of travel can make!!!  But here we are–the chapter of our Mexico years has drawn to a close; the second chapter of our Canadian lives has begun. Our hearts are HEAVY to have left the precious family and friends that God placed in our paths during our six and a half years in Lazaro. Our hearts are FULL to be near our family and friends in our beloved Canada.  Our bodies are TIRED from packing and hauling possessions from our Mexican home.  Our minds are BUZZED WITH EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION with the change of living with Bern’s dad and celebrating his 90th year and the next TWENTY or more with him in his home!!  Our arms are TORN AWAY from the necks and lives of our brothers, sisters and friends with whom we have spent quality time in the study of God’s Word.  Arms are OPEN in warm-welcome hugs from those who have been supporting and praying for our years of ministry in Mexico.  How blessed we are to be a part of both worlds!!!  We have been forever changed by both.

We have no doubt that God sent us to Lazaro Cardenas.  Rather than being a ministry opportunity that we had pursued, it was a mission that God dropped into our laps.  We travelled to Mexico to buy land on the virgin sands of the Michoacan shores of the Pacific Ocean, and ended up staying to help equip a baby church in the neighbouring city.  We did not know the team.  We did not know of the danger.  We did not have the adequate support.  Yet, we loaded a U-haul, and headed south.  God gave us much work for our hands to do.  We faithfully fulfilled His directive, not by our skills and abilities, but by His power and grace.  We loved our work; we loved our Mexican friends and family; we loved our corner of the world. But, for reasons not fully known to us, God, who send us to Michoacan in 2008, called us from that work in 2015.

The blessings have been limitless:  God forged a working relationship between us and the Southern Hills congregation in Abilene, Tx.  They supported us.  They nurtured us.  They visited us.  They encouraged us.  They prayed for us.  They believed in us.  Thank you, Southern Hills.  The kingdom has been expanded and enriched because of our relationship with you!!  Other partners with our work include Saskatoon Church, Glen Elm in Regina and many, many individual supporters.  It’s humbling to  think of the thousands of dollars and millions of prayers that have been poured into our work because of the confidence that our Christian families have placed in us.  It brings us to our knees in that realization, as well as our responsibility in fulfilling God’s mission.  Thank you, dear brothers and sisters.  We leave Mexico knowing that we have fulfilled that mission.  The church is healthier now that it’s ever been.  Since our announcement in September of our plans to leave Mexico, the church has risen to her calling. We have been loved and affirmed by our Mexican brethren; we have been amazed by our Mexican brethren.  They have “stepped up to the plate” in a way that we have never seen before.  In the last seven months God has manifested His faithfulness and love for La Comunidad de Cristo by growing and maturing the people with whom we have worked these last six and a half years.  They have become a Mexican church of Mexican believers for Mexican seekers.  It’s almost as if God has rolled up his sleeves, rubbed His holy palms together and sighed, “Finally we’ve gotten these “gringos” out of the way–NOW my Mexican children can take over.”  Isn’t that a beautiful picture?  We leave in confidence that God loves La Comunidad EVEN more than we do, and He is MORE than able to continue the work He has started there in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico.

Our journey home has been equally filled with amazing people who have ministered to us as we grieve from the loss of our Mexican life. Our first “healing” spot was with the Gonzalez family in San Antonio. This fellow-missionary family left Mexico two years ago.  We felt it invaluable to spend time with the six of them to glean any wisdom they may bestow upon us as we began the re-entry process. We were affirmed and encouraged.  Thank you, Sam, Ann and girls!!2. Gonzalez family in San Antonio

We are forever grateful to Dottie Schultz and Mark Brazle at Mission Resource Network (MRN) in Ft. Worth. They both helped the three of us process our emotions of leaving and re-entry.  Thank you both for your wisdom and expertise!! We sat around the table of co-workers, Jay and Sherry Jarboe, while visiting with long-time friends and ministers of Let’s Start Talking, Craig and Leslee Altrock.  We left with both tummy and spirit filled!!  Thank you, dear friends and fellow workers!  Mike and Debbie Bolton gave us four days of respite.  It was in their home where our bodies and souls rested while they and their family, Jon, Natalia and baby Joshua (and friends Margarita and Bonita), soothed us with the sweet balm of their love and service to us.  How sweet is the bond of the Christian family!!  Thank you, thank you!

3. Boltons in  Ft. Worth (1)

3. Boltons in  Ft. Worth (4)

 We travelled to Abilene to visit with our supporting family at Southern Hills.  Gail and Bobby Lawson hosted us in their home–as always, spoiling us rotten!!!  Thank you is not enough!!

4. Bobby and Gail Lawson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrated Resurrection Sunday with our Southern Hills family.  What a joy THAT was!  A final visit with our supporter, encourager and mentor, Foy Owens, of the Southern Hills Missions Team, helped us bring greater appreciation and closure to our working relationship.  Oh, how grateful we are for this man who has walked the journey with us.  Finally, after three long days of travel to the Northern Lands, we were surprised by our son, daughter-in-law and her parents as they travelled to meet us near the Canadian border.  What a FUN experience to see the car-load of them waving wildly as they passed us on the highway.  It was a joyful reunion by the side of the road.  Thank you for the best welcome of all, Starlet, Kresten, Lowell and Darla!!!

6. family surprise us-almost at the Canadian border April 9, 2015

After a short visit in Weyburn, we made the last two-hour trek to Regina.  Pulling up to the driveway at 55 Laird Crescent, there in the kitchen window was the silhouette of Bern’s father.  How long had he been standing there waiting for his family’s return? Oh, the sweet balm of the soothing touches of those whom we love and who love us.  Thank you!!!

The next chapter of our journey on this “earth that is not our home” is full of new things to come.  In the words of our dear sister, supporter and mentor, Debbie Bolton, our “best years of ministry are still to come.”  I can’t even imagine better years than what we experienced in Mexico, but I look forward to the work God gives our hands to do here in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Our first priority, for now, is to help Logan adjust to his new life, school and friends in Canada, while he mourns the loss of his rich and full life and experiences of Mexico.  His first day of school was reported as a success!!!

9. first day of school April 13, 2015 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other priorities include securing substitute teaching jobs (prospects are extremely favourable), settling into the home and routine of “Gpa” without driving him CRAZY, and finally, buying warm clothes, coats and boots in anticipation for the winter that is sure to come next October!!…sigh…

Our desire is to visit Lazaro each year for the next four years while Logan enters and completes high school.  The February break seems to be our best option for our visits.  Once Logan is in university, Bern and I would love to spend the winter months (go figure) at our “casita” at Miramar on the Mexican Pacific Coast.  We’ll see what will become of our desires and plans.  But THIS we do know:  We have left a piece of our hearts in Mexico, but we know that empty place will be filled with the experiences that God has waiting for us here in Canada. That’s just the kind of loving and faithful God we serve.

It is with tears of loss and tears of anticipation that I close our Mexican chapter with this last posting of this MexSonshine Blog. Thank you for journeying with us these past years.  Please continue to pray with us for God’s church in Lazaro Cardenas–that she will continue to be a light in that dark place through her love, unity and faithfulness to the One who gave His life for her.

Thank you for being a part of the journey!

Alicia, for the Krogsgaards

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SUCH A WASTE OF TIME–NOT!!!!

The weeks until our departure from Mexico are quickly ticking down.  I feel it; my friends feel it.  We are trying to beat the clock by getting in as many study sessions as we can with the remaining few weeks.  Today I got to spend time with Lety.  It’s a highlight of my week.  She has become my dear, sweet friend as she falls more in love with Jesus.

Having spent two weeks with precious friends and family from Canada (Lowell and Darla Peterson, Clint and Dawn Mitchell), I have witnessed their belief in the power of prayer.  I can’t count how many times one of them said, “I will be praying for ___________.” or “How can I be praying for ___________.  As one of my readers was leaving, after our study, one of our visitors, having met my reader said, “Is there anything specific I can be praying for you?”  My reader twirled around and came closer enthusiatically saying, “Yes, my children–that their eyes can be opened to God.”   It was a teaching moment for me–a reminder that I need to be praying more often WITH my LST readers.

So, today as I ended my session with Lety, I told her I would like to pray with her.  Her eyes lit up, “Yes, I would like make prayer, too.”   She decided to pray in English; it was beautiful.  Half way through her prayer she said, “And thank you, God that Alicia wastes her time with me each week.”  God and I laughed together; we both knew what she meant.  Then in mid-sentence she realized her mistake…”No, no, not waste–the opposite ganar (to win).  Again, God and I smiled because that was the most beautiful description of what I have the privilege of doing every day…winning by spending time exposing people to the truths of God.  Thank you, Lety, for allowing me such a great winning of time!!!!  I will miss you more than you can imagine.  And I know a couple of people who are praying for you!!

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“Wasting” my time with Lety.

1. Lowell and Darla Jan 22-29 (26)Being blessed by Lowell and Darla Peterson

2. Dawn and Clint Jan 29-Feb 5, 2015 (2)Such encouragement from Dawn and Clint MItchell

Better Than the Parting of the Red Sea

Hands down, Bernard and I have the best “job” in the world!  I even hesitate to even call it a “job”, because I certainly don’t think of what we do as a “job”.  It’s more of a life-style privilege–or a calling, if you will.  We have the opportunity to witness the process of God changing people’s hearts.  Sit on that for a minute…There is no way to describe the holy ground on which we walk when we see eyes opened and hearts healed.  The experience must be akin to witnessing the burning bush or the Red Sea parting…maybe even better than that!!!  I won’t sugar-coat the difficulties we face working with people; the truth is: most people don’t change.  But oh, what an experience it is when that one in ten (maybe twenty) feels the touch of God on her/his life!  There’s just nothing like it.  I wish you could have been a fly (or maybe an iguana or gecko) on the wall watching my study with Coty today.

Coty is my extra special friend.  If I could pack one special item in my bag to take back to Canada with me, it would be Coty-my dear sweet Cleotilde (Clay-o-tild-e).  I have written about my dear friend, and the prayer warriors for Lazaro Cardenas have prayed several times for her.  I met Coty three years ago in the market.  Her shy and non-assuming character charmed me when she asked in Spanish, “Excuse me.  Do you speak English?”  That very week, Oct. 10, 2011 Coty began coming to me for Let’s Start Talking sessions.  She was a joy to work with because, though she had never taken an English class in her life, she spoke enough for us to have deep and meaningful conversations.  The beauty about the LST method is that you become quite “heart-attached” in an extremely short amount of time, because the conversations about Jesus are so personal and deep.  I’ve often said that my dearest and closest friends are those who are across the ocean as a result of our many years of LST projects in far-away places.  The same is true here in Lazaro.  Some of my closest and dearest friends are those who come to me for English Conversation.

It wasn’t after too many months that Coty began opening up to me about her “highly controlled” life.  Suffice it to say that she is not allowed to go many places, and never, never alone–and certainly not for social gatherings.  That explained that “trapped bird in a cage” vibe I got from her.  So, I was deeply grateful that she was permitted to “take English classes ” from me once a week, though it takes 30 minutes to travel from her home to mine.  Through the months, I saw a visible transformation in Coty.  Her eyes teared up as Jesus’ compassion toward the sinful woman touched her heart-strings.  Her curiosity in the details of Jesus began to far out-weigh her desire to improve her English.  I’ll never forget the day she thanked me for the time we spend together.  She shyly said, “You know, I enjoy learning more English, but I enjoy even more learning about Jesus.”  HOLY GROUND MOMENT!!  I remember the first time we prayed together.  It was a new experience for her.  Her humility overwhelmed me as much as her sweet tears pierced me.  “How can I be so privileged that I take prayer for granted, and here sits a woman bathed in her tears, experiencing the presence of God, perhaps for the first time?”  My only response was thankfulness to God for allowing me to be the one to walk with this precious creation of His.

The years passed quickly as we studied through Jesus’ life and death.  I begged her to meet me on Sundays so that she could know my church family.  Her smile let me know that wouldn’t–couldn’t happen.  So, we continued to meet once a week as we journeyed with Jesus together.   Even though she has attended mass most Sundays, I was amazed how little she knew of God’s Word and His people.  She loved to hear me tell the stories of Moses, Abraham and David.  I knew it was time to take her through the Seed-Line study.  November 13, 2013 we began looking at God’s character that is displayed through His creating of the world.  She pondered the prophesy of Genesis 3:15.  She couldn’t even imagine who would crush Satan’s power.  Her drive to discover the fulfillment of the prophesy caused her to absorb herself in God’s Word.  I gave her all kinds of Bibles: English Bibles, Spanish Bibles, Easy-to-read Bibles.  She simply could not get enough!! She was amazed at Abraham’s faith.  She was appalled at Simeon and Levi’s vengeance.  She was enamored by Ruth’s faithfulness and Boaz’s love.  She was taken back by God’s compassion and patience.  But she still had no idea who would crush Satan’s power over death.

Having come to me three times a week since the end of August, we have zipped through the Bible, and today was the day!  We spent the hour reviewing all that we had leaned about God through HIs stories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah and Tamar, the Judges, Saul, David, and other kings, and Esther.  Her eyes were glowing, and I know her heart was beating quickly.  The stories weren’t just stories, they were a play right before her eyes pointing her to know God.  Then I asked, “Have you ANY idea who the promised one might be?  Who will crush Satan’s head?”  She didn’t have a clue.  We opened our Bibles to Matthew’s genealogical account, then we turned to Luke’s.  I showed her how the two merged at King David–and how Matthew’s was Joseph’s family, and Luke’s was Mary’s family.  Her eyes got bigger, but she just wasn’t sure what it all meant.  Then we turned to Galatians 3:16.  She read it as I remained silent.  There must have been three hours of silence as she processed that verse.  I quietly asked, “Coty, who is the promised one–the son of the woman who was sent to crush Satan’s power?”  Very quietly, her response was, “The Christ, Jesus.”  HOLY GROUND MOMENT!!  Sweeter words have never crossed her lips.  She lit up, “I’m so happy to finally know who He is!!”  Then she pondered how it was that she hadn’t “connected the dots”.  (I had often pondered that myself!! haha)

I hope, as you represent our Master, that you, too, have the privilege to witness Holy Ground/Parting the Red Sea moments.  There’s just nothing like it!!  It makes working with people TOTALLY worth the pain of working with people!! That one in ten (maybe twenty) keeps me telling the story, praying to see transformation.  What an amazing God we serve!!! God certainly is not finished with Coty, but she definitely is one of His greatest masterpieces so far!!  Pray for her.

Until the next blog,

Alicia, for the Krogsgaards                       Coty (4)

Off To A Good Start In Our Seventh Year

Oh, how well I remember the evening we rolled into the little fishing village of Playa Azul, Michoacan six years ago.  It seemed like we had driven to the end of the earth as we made a slow, gradual descent from Morelia to the sea.  With each curve we knew we HAD to be close to our destination, but the curves kept coming, and the drive soon took us into the darkness.  The air became heavy and hot.  The windshield was soon covered with condensation.  Then, horror or horrors, our Buick’s air conditioner suddenly went on the blink. We rolled down the windows and were shocked with a blast of hot, wet air. I remember Bernard and I looking at each other thinking, “What have we done?”  A few hours later we found ourselves at our destination and immediately jumped in the pool…sweet, cool relief.  The next day we popped in the pool a half-dozen times to escape the unbreathable air.  “How will we EVER get used to this tropical weather?”  Here we are, October 1, entering into our seventh year here in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico.  And no, I still haven’t completely gotten used to the tropical heat and humidity, but I sure feel like a withered up, dry leaf when I leave it.

It’s hard to believe that was six years ago.  I have to say, it’s gone quickly.  We feel good about the work God has given our hands to do over the years.  He has been faithful to us, as we have been faithful to His call.  We look forward to continuing our work with people that we have come to love and appreciate, and meeting new people who will cross our paths here in our seventh year.  I wanted to dedicate this October blog to those with whom we are spending much of our time.  It’s always nice to have a face in mind as we pray about these folks on their journey toward God.

Lety-Lunes 6 pmThis is Lety, with her wee one, Iker.  Lety has been a dear friend for the last four years.  She owns a paper supply and book strore, where she spends about nine hours a day.  Lety is an English teacher who tutors students at her store.  She keeps busy with her business and little boy.  Lety and I have been studying about two years.  We use the Let’s Start Talking materials, looking at the life of Jesus.  Lety attends La Comunidad de Cristo occasionally.  It’s fun watching Lety fall in love with Jesus as she reads how He interacted and treated the people around him.  She has an astute understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God.  She wants to raise her little boy to love God.  Please pray for her as she continues her journey.  She specifically asks for prayers for her husband, Ugo–that they would become a family that                                                                                        worships together in the same beliefs.

IMG_6923This is Mercedes.  She is a woman of tenacity and strength.  Her story is heart-breaking as she tries to better herself economically so that she can free herself of her loveless husband who has had multiple affairs.  She is raising two teen boys, and often feels that she is losing the battle.  She is from Taxco, the silver capital of Mexico, so she buys jewlery there to sell here in Lazaro.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t make much, and the income is terribly inconsistent.  She is taking sewing classes, and is beginning to sew simple clothing for the public.  She is also wanting to improve her English so that more opportunities may be opened up to her.  Mercedes is an inspiration.  Through all of her difficulties and struggles, she gets really discouraged, but she continues to lean on God for strength.  She has been attending La Comunidad de Cristo for a few years. Please pray that Mercedes will see God’s hand of blessing on her life as she continues to learn to walk in His ways.

 

Coty Dec 2012 (3)This is Coty.  She and I have a very special friendship.  We connected a few years ago at the market.  Being a bit on the shy side, it took courage for her to ask if I spoke English.  We quickly became friends.  Coty travels about 30 minutes three times a week to practice her English with me.  However, not long after we began reading about Jesus, she “confided” in me that she loves the English, but loves, even more, the stories of Jesus.  She is so, so appreciative of our time together.  She has never taken an English class, but has learned most of what she knows by reading the dictionary!!! I am amazed at her abilities to learn, not only English, but the truths of Jesus.  It’s a joy and a privilege to watch her learn to love Jesus more and more, and apply His teachings to her life.  Coty has a difficult life with a controling husband who keeps tabs on her 24/7, so we don’t have the liberty to extend our friendship beyong our sessions.  She will likely never have the privilege of being able to attend La Comunidad de Cristo.  Please pray that she will find comfort in knowing that Jesus understands her plight, and promises to journey with her, giving her freedom from her “caged bird” status.

English class (1)This is Lili.  I can’t remember how we met, but she came to my first follow-up English class from the YoungFriends Group.  I got the feeling that she was in the class only for the English.  Unfortunately she had to stop attending because of a job change.  Interestingly enough, she took a job at Logan’s school, so we often ran into her and enjoyed a casual chat now and then.  At the end of last year she asked if she could take English lessons again.  This time we worked more with the Let’s Start Talking material, based on the stories of Jesus.  Not only has her English improved, but her interest in the teachings of Jesus has soared.  She amazes me with her quick understanding of the lessons and how they apply to our lives.  I’m excited to see how God will continue to touch her heart as Lili learns more about this man named Jesus!!!

 

 

Carmen-Miercoles, Viernes 9 amThis is my dear, dear friend, Carmen.  I came to know Carmen through Mercedes.  They were both students in the same sewing class.  Carmen is my special blessing.  I’m convinced that God send her to minister to my heart.  She is a strong, committed Christian.  She attends, and is a leader in one of the larger Christian churches here in Lazaro.  I love Carmen because she doesn’t fit into the small Christian box that legalistic Christianity builds.  She gets GRACE.  She get FREEDOM in Christ.  She fights against religious abuse.  She voices her opinion when a Christian, even a leader, is out of line with the teachings of Jesus.  She’s a fireball, my Carmen, and I love her!!!  We challenge each other.  We sharpen each other.  We teach each other.  She can talk to me in a manner that she would never be able to share with another leader of her church.  I really don’t know who blesses whom most.  I just know that Carmen is the sunshine in my week!!! She only comes once a week becasue she doesn’t want to “steal” me away from my purpose in teaching the lost.  Every now and then we speak some English, but she’s more interested in dealing with the deep biblical truths of God’s Word.  For her, English just gets in the way and slows the conversation down!!  Would you thank God for sending my dear friend and sister to minister to my needs this last year.  Please pray for her and her husband in their ministry to help troubled marriages.

 

Rafa y WesThis is Rafael and Wesfalia (Rafa y Wes).  I have known Wes for years, as she is the daughter of my dear friend and sister, Imelda, with whom I visited the jail four years.  Wes and I have studied off and on for several years.  We recently learned the news that she and Rafa will be getting married Dec. 12.  We think very highly of both of these young people, and felt more than honoured when they asked us to lead them in a study of the Bible.  Rafa doesn’t know much about God, but is intersted in learning.  Because we have such a passion to guide young people in preparation for their marriage, we are incorporating premarital guidance into our study.  We are having a BLAST!!!  God has provided me this opportunity to write a curriculum of sessions to help guide engaged couples in their spiritual journey as they prepare for their roles as husband and wife.  Bern and I are so very impressed with this couple.  We need more couples like them!!!  Please pray that God will touch Rafa’s heart to make Jesus his Master and become the spiritual leader of his home.  Pray that Wes will be a wonderful wife who is an example for her husband through her dependence on God.

 

 

The rest of our time is devoted to this guy and others his age. Between his activities of parties, chess tournements, basketball, volleyball and other school activities, we keep fairly busy.  Bern teaches the adolescent group at La Comunidad de Cristo, as well as plans a Sunday each month for them to eat, play, and study together.  We love our LADDs (Los Adolescentes de Dios) and the little group they are forming. We have a nice little group of teachers who rotate every month with the teaching.  Bern will continue to mentor Imelda and Angeles to completely take over the ministry of the LADDs.  Please pray that these kids become faithful young people of God!!

quincenera de Yesli  Sept 13, 2014chess tourney Sept 20, 2-14 (5)

 

9. LADD'S at Yoland's (26)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, that is some of the work God is giving our hands to do here in Lazaro.  I pray that you are being useful in His Kingdom as He continues to give you important work for your hands in your corner of the world.  Blessings as you are faithful to His calling.

Until the next blog,  Alicia for the Krogsgaards

HOME, SWEET HOME

One of the most confusing concepts for a foreign field worker is the idea of “home”.  Is Canada our “home”, or are we now back “home” here in Mexico?  It’s said that missionaries are happiest on the airplane, between the two places.  I have to chuckle because there is much truth in that statement.  My way around the dilemma  is to continue to hum the old hymn, This world is not my home; I’m only passing through…  

Canada was a great place to be for the summer.  We spent rich times with family and friends.  There was no lack of exciting events while there.  I left for Canada a month before Bern and Logan so that I could take in the graduations of Kresten and Ashley.  Unfortunately Logan was still in school until the end of June, so I was elected family representative to whoop and hollar as the graduates walked across the stages back in Canada.  Both of the grads were wonderful.  I could not be more proud of the accomplishments of our adult children.  Kresten, graduating in early June, received his Environmental Engineering degree from the University of Regina.  Ashley, a few weeks later, earned her Practical Nursing Degree from SIAST.  Both are working, putting their years of study to good use.

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 Having the month of June to myself, I was able to visit and participate in various activities, including two wedding showers for our now, new daughter, Starlet.  Her home church in Weyburn had a big “shin-dig” for her.  I was especially glad to have been there because Star’s mom and G’ma were not able to attend due to a family crisis with Star’s G’pa.  It was a special evening to sit with my “soon-to-be daughter” as she was showered with love and gifts.  A few weeks later, the Regina church hosted another shower, where we were glad to have all the gals in Star’s family attend!!  Both were wonderful occasions.

1. It was an honour to sit with the girls (1) IMG_8784

Bernard and Logan arrived the first of July.  Logan headed off for camps and mission experiences.  Bernard headed for the shop with G’pa Ellis where they worked on the last touches of Star’s cedar chest.  They also made plans to lay the decking and boardwalk.  G’pa never ceases to amaze us with his abilities in the shop.  His craftmanship is next to none.  His expertise is invaluable.  The 55 Laird Shop is quite the classroom for learning for all who enter!!

IMG_8704 down on the boardwalk (2)

Another highlight for Bern was his 40th year high school class reunion.  Living far away, we haven’t had the opportunity to attend many of the reunions through the years, so we were excited to connect with folks from so many years past.  It was a blast touring through the roads of memory lane.  We are grateful to Lois and Roland Olson for hosting the event in Weyburn.

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Summer is birthday time in the Krogsgaard Klan.  We enjoyed many suppers together, as well as several birthday cakes! We were thrilled to be able to spend some time with G’pa, Dave, Rich/Sue and family, Bill and Wendy Ulrich, along with Erin and Kristian.  And our special surprise was spending time with two of Bern’s uncles that we don’t see very often, Uncle Bordy and Uncle Bernard.

IMG_8942 Ash and her firework key lime pie!! (4)IMG_8931

Of course, the big event of the the summer was Kresten and Star’s wedding on August 2.  It was everything a wedding should be!!  The day could not have been more perfect!!  We are extremely proud of the man Kresten is becoming, and we could not have picked a more wonderful daughter-in-law!!  We look forward to the many ways God will continue to  use Star and Kresten for His purposes!!

11. family fotos (6) 11. family fotos (14)11. family fotos (3)

With that whirlwind of activities behind us, we have now returned to our home in Mexico.  We have renewed friendships, reconnected with our brothers and sisters at Comunidad de Cristo, restarted Bible studies, and made plans for the upcoming year.  Logan has begun his second year of Junior High School (Grade 8).  He’s glad to be “home”, too!!  May this be a wonderful year of growing in the Lord’s favour for each of you.  Blessings, The Krogsgaards

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YOUNG FRIENDS 2014

Semana Santa here in Lazaro Cardenas is a bit like Christmas when I was a little girl.  I waited and waited, with great anticipation, thinking that the fun-filled holidays would never come, but when they finally arrived, they were gone before I knew it.  That is just how I feel each year in anticipation of the YoungFriends’ arrival.  When they finally get here, the week is over before we realize it.  However, we made many great memories to which we will reflect for years to come.  The team was made up of five amazing folks: Andrea Muirhead, the consistent, fearless leader; Pamela Stonehouse, a veteran LST worker from years gone by; Tyler and Victoria Utman, our energetic sweetheart couple; and Kiara James, our brave a courageous first-timer.

1. Welcome YF (2)             1. Welcome YF (3)

As with every year, the team hit the Mexican soil well-trained and excited about meeting the YF participants.  Days One and Two brought about twenty participants with varying levels of English.  Of all the many places we have travelled with LST, Lazaro Cardenas has the lowest level of English, so we have always used translators, of which Logan is more than happy to lend his services.  The one glitch that handicapped us a bit was Andrea’s sore throat and runny nose turned into a troublesome upper respiratory infection, for which she was prescribed heavy-duty antibiotics.  But even so, the team trudged full speed ahead and continued their work for which they had been thoroughly trained-conversation groups using stories of Jesus as the text, silly games, themed parties and activities geared at engaging the workers and participants in meaningful relationship.  Day Three brought another unusual occurrence—we noticed that folks around the neighbourhood were walking around with masks over their noses and mouths.  Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the fertilizer plant on the other side of town had experienced an explosion which leaked ammonia in the air.  It was advised that the residents of Lazaro stay inside their homes or leave the city.  We wondered if Day Three would become reality; however, by mid-day, the warning had been lifted, so the team headed for the building.  Only one participant showed up, but little by little others sauntered in.  Day Three was off to a snail-paced start, but ended with a high-energy concert performed by Comunidad de Cristo’s music team.  The numbers were a bit low, but the enthusiasm was high.

3. Day 1 conversation groups (3) 3. Day 1 conversation groups (2)

8. Day 2 games and Medieval party (6) 8. Day 2 games and Medieval party (8)

The highly anticipated Day Four—BEACH DAY was a huge success.  Sixteen of us loaded up and headed to the beautiful beach at Playa Azul.  After fun in the water and sand, the two groups gathered for the two final conversation sessions from the book of Luke.  We all enjoyed a lunch of shrimp, octopus and Huachinango (Red Snapper), then bade our perfect paradise adios.

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Day 4 Beach day (6) Day 4 Beach day (5)

We all marvelled at how the week had rushed by so quickly.  Addresses and Facebook data were exchanged.  Hugs and kisses were shared.  Promises of next year’s YF week were anticipated.  The next day we took  the team to Miramar for a day of  relaxation and reflection.

Day 5 Free Day at Miramar (2) 8. Day 2 games and Medieval party (20)

Then early Saturday morning, Bernard whisked the Canadians toward Ixtapa to catch their flights back to Regina.  We are so very grateful for the team and for their supporters who made it possible for them to be with us.  Who would ever guess that seven days would make such an impact on both the Canadians and the Mexicans?  But as it is every year, hearts are bonded in friendship;  seeds of Jesus’ life and teaching are planted.  Thank you, YoungFriends Team.  We look forward to your visit next year!!!

7. Day 2 lunch at our house (2) 7. Day 2 lunch at our house (1)

WITH NOT A PESO IN HER POCKET

I’ve  heard stories of some of my sisters here in Mexico describing how God has provided for them when there wasn’t a tortilla in their kitchen or a peso in their pocket.  I’ve marvelled at these mothers’ faith; I’ve marvelled at God’s faithfulness.  Never experiencing true hunger or never lacking money in my pocket, I truly can not identify with those who wonder from whence their next meal will come.

Hector and Elia (Pixie) Pati and Genesis Abigail Dec 11, 2013 (3)

These past few weeks have been a sharp learning curve for me as we have had Paty, Elia and Genesis living with us.  We helped in Paty’s release from jail where she was wrongly accused.  She was two months pregnant when she was thrown into jail for refusing to give a policeman a bribe.  Her husband, who travels with the circus, was soon on the road again with their two young children, leaving Paty to fend for herself in jail.  Imelda, Carmen and I enjoyed getting to know Paty, and watching her renewed faith bloom once again through our weekly Bible Study.   Once it was apparent that a baby was to be born inside the walls of the jail, the authorities were clamouring to quietly release Paty.  Thankfully, one of the public defenders came to her aid, advising her not to leave before the baby was born, requiring  the jail/government  to cover the expenses of the birth.  Several days after returning to the jail from the hospital with baby Genesis in arms, Bern and I paid for her release.  A few trips to Wal-Mart provided Paty with some desperately needed baby supplies.  After a few days with us, we bade her good-bye as she joined her husband in Guadalajara.  One of the requirements of her release was to undergo eight months of therapy here in Lazaro.  The monthly trips from Guadalajara to Lazaro were breaking her financially.  She simply did not have the means for such frequent travel.  She and the psychologist came up with a plan for Paty to live in Lazaro for two months and receive weekly sessions to fulfill her therapy requirements.  Two weeks ago, Paty arrived in Lazaro with baby Genesis in arms and 3 year old Elia in tow.

 

Unfortunately there were problems with her appointments, and to this date she has yet to see the psychologist—two and a half precious weeks wasted as she waits for her next appointment the end of this week.  Meanwhile we have provided her necessities as she arrived with not a peso in her pocket.  Her first need was to make some money.  We cooked up a batch of Tinga, a delicious chicken/tomato/chipotle stew which is served on a baked tortilla with sour cream and goat cheese.  With dreams of selling enough to buy milk for her babies, Paty headed off to the busiest corner in our area.  There she stayed for hours, with only four plates of Tinga being sold.  She handed me the 80 pesos, which didn’t even pay for the ingredients.  Refusing, I told her to go buy what she needed for her girls.  Her gratitude for all that has been done for her is humbling.  Although she was disappointed in the lack of sells, she declared that tomorrow would be better.

selling tinga and carrot cake Mar 2014

With renewed energy and a few pesos in her pocket, Paty headed out the next morning to walk the streets of the neighbourhood selling her Tinga.  To her disappointment, she returned several hours later with the report of no sells.  Her response?—God will provide.  After a refreshing meal, she packed up the girls and headed out again to sell shoes that her friend had made in the jail.  Again, no progress was made to put more pesos in her pocket.  While Paty was out selling, I baked Candace Lambs’ famous carrot cake.  Since my dear friend and supporter gave me this recipe, it has been a huge hit here in Mexico.  I displayed it on my fancy glass cake plate/dome and sent her out to sell each piece for 10 and 15 pesos.  Meanwhile our ladies’ Thursday Bible Study Group met together and prayed for Paty’s success.  Toward the end of our study, in walked Paty with a smile on her face.  Elia, jumping up and down exclaimed, “We sold it all!!  My mama sold all the cake!!”  With tears in her eyes, Paty handed me the 200 pesos.  I put it back in her purse and told her again to buy what she needed for her girls.  After prayers of thanksgiving offered by the women of the study, Bernard presented Paty with an amazing gift:  On the street corner, Paty was being observed by a Christian shop owner.  He was struck by Paty’s tenacity and ability to sell (with little success at times) and care for her baby and 3 year old.  After chatting with Bernard, the shop owner asked Bernard to give Paty his gift of 200 pesos anonymously.  Paty could hardly believe that she had 400 pesos in her pocket (worth about $35).  I asked her for 100 pesos to cover the ingredients.  (Just on a personal note: that was the hardest 100 pesos to ask for.  I would have rather she kept the 8 dollars, but it’s important to keep others’ dignity and self-worth through their participation, not by giving and giving without some reciprocation from them.) Paty joyfully handed over the 100 pesos with words of unending gratitude for our help.  The next day, Paty was up early to clean the church building.  At the end of four hours, she had another 200 pesos in her pocket!!  Wow!!!  She was RICH!!!

 

Here we are again at another week.  Cakes are being baked and shoes are being sold.  Paty is determined to provide for her girls and do what she needs to do to meet the requirements of the judge.  Paty continues to tell us how thankful she is that God sent His people to her rescue.  But the truth be told, God has sent Paty to us to show me what it means to be completely dependent on Him.  Very rarely have I seen such faith—such dependence on God for basic needs.  We, indeed, are so very rich.  Paty has been an inspiration to me.  She has never complained.  She has never asked for one thing from us.  She has never shown discouragement or the desire to give up, though I have to admit, I was on the verge of tears several times for her.  She has never neglected her responsibilities as a mother.  She takes disappointment and set-backs as a challenge to overcome, rather than an inconvenience of which to complain.  She has never been ungrateful or displayed any sign of playing the role of the “victim”.  She has been a rock of faithfulness; she has been a display of God’s mercy.  When I grow up, I want to be just like this amazing young woman!!

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Epilogue—Yesterday I experienced another serendipitous moment in all of this:  Because Paty had reheated and stored the Tinga several times, I explained that it was no longer safe to sell to the public, yet we knew it was still safe for consumption, as long as it was boiled well.  Wondering what to do with the stew, we decided to ask our neighbour, who is often in need with their four boys.  Marina gratefully accepted the gift.  A few days later, while passing by the house, Marina again thanked us for the food and commented that the boys enjoyed the Tinga so very much because they had eaten nothing but soup that week.  We just never know how God will bless others through us—unsold stew on the verge of being thrown away became a blessing for a struggling family of six, working long hours to put soup on the table…sigh…Our work is so very humbling at times.

 

Until the next blog,

Alicia for the Krogsgaards

Beating Mr. Grumpy by LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

Okay, someone needs to confess…Who stole January????  I went to bed wondering how it could possibly be a new year, and woke up to a new month—February!!!!  I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun!

We’ve discovered through the years that it takes about two months to get folks back on track after the year-end holidays.  Each Sunday brings more people back worshipping with us.  It’s a funny phenomenon, for which I have no explanation—that’s just the way it is around here.  There’s no use fighting it; we just need to remember the reality of it.

That thought takes me to our grumpy clock/thermometer.  I bought Bernard this fancy-wancy gadget a few years ago.  It’s nice to know the outside and inside temperatures, as well as the level of humidity, barometric pressure and forecast. (I told you it was a hoity-toity thing.)  We have thoroughly enjoyed gloating over our hot, humid temps as our family and friends complain about the deep-freeze all over the States and Canada.  But there’s one feature about this gadget that I just don’t like.  You see, there’s this little face in the middle of the screen that smiles when he likes the weather, and frowns when he doesn’t.  Well, I tell you, that grumpy old face NEVER likes our Mexican Pacific Coast heat and humidity. (Go figure!!  We bought the gadget in Canada!)  As far as I remember, he’s NEVER smiled at our temperatures.  He wears that frown constantly—until today!!!  Puttering around in the kitchen, making a Date/Mocha Loaf  (Yum!! One of Jean Pare’s  BEST recipes), I glanced up at the clock, and to my surprise, Mr. Grumpy had a SMILE on his face!!!  I hollered the news to Bernard (as if he cares—haha) and grabbed my camera.  I snapped the picture and decided there was too much flash.  I kid you NOT…in the time it took me to turn off the flash and retake the photo, Mr. Grumpy had returned!!!  In fact, you can see in the photos that it was within the same minute.

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You can’t see his little smiling face in the “too much flash” picture, but the next picture shows that Mr. Grumpy is back.

How can he be so fickle?  How can he be such a downer when the temperatures have FINALLY cooled down (I know my Canadian family and friends are rolling their eyes at me right now) and the sky is a deep blue with the sun kissing our cheeks.  Can’t Mr. Grumpy see it’s a beautiful day????  I want to shake my finger at him and sing “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One”, but midway through the thought, I see my reflection in the glass; it stops me cold.  How many times have I been like Mr. Grumpy?  God has brought us to an amazing place to live.  I laugh at the “freezing-cold” reports because I live here in flip-flops!!  I enjoy the beauty of God’s ocean most week-ends. I see the most breath-taking sunsets day after day. (The only place they are more spectacular is on the prairies of Saskatchewan where you can see the setting sun for “hours”.)  I have some of the most amazing relationships with the people who have crossed my path.  I have THE best godly man in the Kingdom with whom I work shoulder to shoulder. We are blessed beyond measure with our supporting churches and individuals who have confidence in us to be about  Kingdom Work.  And our children are thriving– the youngest, a Canadian who is more Mexican than Canadian, and the two Mexicans who are more Canadian than Mexican. (It’ll take another blog to explain all that!).  So what right do I have to be MRS. GRUMPY????!!!!  (Besides my 20 hot flashes a day to add to the 30+ degree temps and a house that needs to be cleaned daily because of the mountain of dust that lands on everything in one hour’s time.) I have NO RIGHT at all to be MRS. GRUMPY!!! (The tune in your head right now should be “Count Your Blessings”.)

Our dear, precious friends in Regina, Saskatchewan, Scott and Mano Young gave us a plaque that lists eleven Family Rules. I’ve placed it in the dining room where we all can see it.  More than once, Logan has sat down at the table and starting cackling hilariously.  When Bern and I look at him like he’s lost his marbles, he points to the plaque and states, “Laugh Out Loud!”  The plaque and Logan are good reminders for me NOT to be like Mr. Grumpy.

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I have a “Thoughts to be Pondered” board where I strategically place quotes that have impacted me.  One of those little gems is this:  “Don’t let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace.”

So, as we try to “reel” in our church family after the holidays, as I daily wipe the dust off the furniture, as I rush to the fan causing my face sweat to splash against the wall behind me (Now there’s a lady-like image, huh?!!), I will remember that I am NOT Mr. Grumpy, and rule number eleven reminds me to LOL!!!

We would love to have you come visit us if you need a break from the deep-freeze where you are.  Who knows…we maybe even have fits of hysterical cackling together!!!

Until the next blog,

Alicia for the Krogsgaards

PS—Happy LOL to you all in your corner of the world.

Merry Christmas from the Mexican Tropics

The season has been full of fun.  We’ve made stockings for the gals at the jail and our abuelos at the nursing home.  The LADDs (pre-teens) have made crafts to put in the stockings.  The Christmas baking was done in one whack for Logan’s teachers.  The neighbours have been visited with their plates of goodies.  I even spoiled my husband with some yummy home-made egg nog.  (Oh, my! It was delicious.)  Shortbread and ponche  were enjoyed by the ladies at our final Bible study when we put up the church tree,then gathered around in prayer for our brothers and sisters. Today the children performed a sweet little Christmas poem announcing Jesus’ birth, then handed out Christmas cookies to everyone.  It’s been a lovely and full Christmas season.  I’ve enjoyed every activity, but my favourite Christmas tradition is putting up our family tree.  Every ornament on our tree is a treasure–either it was given to us, made by us, or bought on a trip to the many places we have been.  The ritual takes hours because I travel and stop to ponder down memory lane as I unwrap each treasure and remember from whence it came.  I love the memories of little hands making our yearly ornament to give to our family, friends and neighbours.  I remember the faces of dear ones who blessed us with a memory for our tree.  I remember the many places we have visited and our sweet friends that we encountered in those parts of the world.  My tree is a testimony that we have lived a full and blessed life through the years.  

My favourite section of the tree displays the yearly ornaments that my sweet mother gave to me. The first one dates back to 1979!! What a great tradition she started, and I continue with my children. My favourite is the picture of Mother and me.  I gave each grandchild an ornament with Memaw’s picture the Christmas before she passed away. I place the ornament on our tree, and I remember.

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The oldest decoration on our tree is a glass ball that Bern’s tree displayed when he was a boy.  He thinks it may be even older than he!!!  Imagine!!!  I take special care of this treasure.  I carefully unwrap it and thank God for Bern’s family, that has become my own!!

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I smile as I look at the various ornaments the children have made through the years.  I’ve since passed on Kresten and Ashley’s ornaments to them, but I still enjoy watching Logan grow through the years from one ornament to the next.  I also display the many Santa photos for all to enjoy.

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I remember dear, sweet friends from days gone by.  I stop and think of Nancy from my days at Sunset’s Adventures in Missions.

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I remember Ray and Ellen McMillan who made itty-bitty gingerbread men, oh so many years ago.

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I remember my dear sisters from the Saskatoon Bible Study Fellowship-Sande, Suzanne, Judy and so many others.  I place each treasure on my tree and pray for each women, wherever she may be.  I thank God for Judy, and remember her family that is left behind when she ran toward her eternal reward several years ago.  How precious is that lovely ornament which takes me back to her sweet, sweet face. 

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I remember the many faces we have encountered in many corners of the world.  I smile to think of our dear friends, Silvia, Ernie and girls in Riga, Lativia.  I cherish the memories of Reet and Peter and children in Tallin, Estonia.  I pray for Michael as I unwrap our panda bear from China.  So many people; so many rich blessings!

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My tree isn’t the only display of memories from years gone by.  I spread the treasures throughout the house.  There on the buffet serenely depicts the wonder of that “first Christmas night”.  I remember my dear sister, Bonnie, who is one of the best gift-givers I know.  Some people just have that knack for knowing what others will LOVE!!!–as I LOVE my nativity scene.

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I remember my first best friend, Sherry Thomley Buie, from my childhood days.  Her beautiful angel overlooks baby Jesus’ birth.

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I remember and pray for past and present supporters.  We never ceased to be amazed at the sacrificial giving of God’s people.  I thank God that Robin and Marlo Dunlop, our dear supporters for years, have been given more time together, which was severely threatened by Marlo’s bout with Cancer.  What a joy to read of their travels and adventures together during their retirement years! Her whimsical little carollers sing for joy for the miracle God has performed in their lives.

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Our beautiful lighted present reminds us of the great gift we have in our dear supporters, Cam and Margaret Husband.  They not only support us monetarily, but have taken the time and expense to visit us, to see firsthand the work God is doing here in the Mexican Pacific Coast.

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Christmas is a reminder of the many blessings we have in Jesus.  Our tree and special Christmas pretties provide me the opportunity to again remember.  May this Christmas season provide you many memories for the years ahead.  Wherever the season finds you; with whomever you spend  your holidays, we pray that you, too, will remember the many blessings of relationships.  Merry Christmas.

Until the next blog,                                                                                                                                                                                     Alicia, for the Krogsgaards

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The Great Orchestrator

I’m often grateful that the Bible writers didn’t include every detail in the written account.  Can you imagine how heavy our Bibles would be to lug around  had every detail been included?  However, don’t you have some questions that you wish you could ask God?  Oh, not silly kids’ questions like: Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?–(hmmmm, I guess they would not have had one, would they?)  Nor do I refer to doctrinal questions that change the eternity of a person.  But aren’t you a little puzzled at some of the details that are included in God’s word?  I mean, how did Phillip disappear from the scene of the Ethiopian eunuch’s baptism and appear 30 miles away at Azotus?  And, how did the Macedonian churches give as much as they were able, and even BEYOND their ability? Where did Legion get his clothes?  After all, they were in a grave yard, late at night.  Who would have had an extra tunic?  Yet, we’re told he was dressed and in his right mind. And the great debatable question, if the sun is our only light source, what was the light that God created on day one?   Questions like these make me shake my head and wonder why those particular details were placed in the passages. Obviously those details were important, or they wouldn’t have been included.  So I have to chalk those ponderings up to the fact that God is the Great Orchestrator.  In some circumstances, He simply pulls things together to make everything work in accordance with His will.

This month has been FULL of God’s orchestrations.  I don’t even know where to begin to share with you the things He has done in the lives of people–mostly people we hardly know.  Let’s start with the flooding in late September…La Comunidad de Cristo began to collect household items-sheets, towels, clothes, etc-in hopes of helping a family hit hard by the floods.  Gina and several others began investigating possible families.  The church prayed for a specific family to which the supplies may be given.  Weeks passed, but no leads on a family.  Finally, we made the decision to give the box to the Red Cross to be distributed as they saw fit.  The church prayed over the box, begging God to direct the things to needy families.  Javier loaded the box in his car to be delivered the next day.  Several hours later, Gina called me saying she had found a family with two boys who needed the supplies.  Retrieving the box, off she went to Mari’s apartment–not a complicated series of events, but the details of the events made our heads spin.  First, Gina met Mari at the grocery store when she and her kids begged Gina for a job-ironing, washing, cleaning, whatever.  Gina doesn’t have means for such luxury, but she took Mari’s name and number in case she heard of someone wanting domestic help.  Gina entered the store to do her shopping, then popped into a fast food restaurant to get her little girl a meal.  While waiting, Gina realized she had left some freshly bought chicken in the hot car.  Off she went to salvage the meat before it spoiled.  Who did she meet again?  Mari!  Gina called her over and gave her a few veggies.  (Remember, Gina barely has enough money to buy her own family’s food.  But, THAT’S the Mexican way; they share the little bit that they have.)  Arriving at her house, Gina remembered several kilos of tortillas she had bought before the tortillerias were forced to closed down for a few days.  (That’s a story for another day in another blog post!!).  Gina called Mari, finding her in her apt., and took the tortillas to her.  Mari poured out her familiar story to Gina: running from an abusive husband, no work, no money.  That’s when Gina went looking for the box.  Gina spent more time with Mari telling her about Jesus’ love and praying with her.  Gina told us about Mari in our Thursday study, and we prayed fervently for her and her children. That next Friday, Angeles, one of the women in our study, decided to take her children to the circus.  She certainly didn’t have the  money, but it was a cheap diversion for her children.  She later mentioned a great pull she felt to buy those three tickets.  Inside the circus, there were only a few people sitting in the stands.  She headed for a woman with her two children at the very top and center.  Starting up a conversation, Mari’s name suddenly popped into Angeles’ mind, so crystal clear that it startled her.  Toward the end of the show, Angeles and the woman were practically best friends.  (That’s also the Mexican way, so friendly and open.)  Bidding their good-byes and best wishes, Angeles offered her name and asked the woman her’s–“My name’s Mari.”  Angeles stood, literally with her mouth gaping open.  “I know you,” responded Angeles.  A little surprised and somewhat concerned, Mari was a bit standoffish with her reply.  Angeles continued, “Do you have a new friend you just met named Gina.  You met her at Soriana last week.”  Somewhat suspicious, Mari replied that yes, she had met Gina.  “We’ve been praying for you!!!” shouted Angeles.  I knew you were Mari when we first sat down.”  Well, you can only imagine the conversation and camaraderie that were sparked.  Later, Angeles took Mari and her boys home.  Unfortunately, the husband had located Mari in her borrowed apartment.  Gina later received a phone call from Mari saying that she had been beaten. A visit to the police department was unfruitful because there were no witnesses.  Gina spent time with her, offering prayers and counsel.  There is no such thing as a house of refuge here in Lazaro.  Where could Mari and her children go for safety?  She fled to the friends who had allowed her to stay in the apartment.  The next Thursday, Gina walked into out women’s study with Mari and introduced her to us all.  We spent a lovely evening talking about prayer and our own life experiences of God answering prayers.  The next Sunday, Mari and her boys participated with us in worshipping our God.  The boys loved their classes and desired to return.  The church received them well and gave Mari much encouragement.  The next Thursday all three came to our women’s study.  It was a wild time with seven kids and six women!!  But what a GREAT time it was for us all.

We don’t know how God orchestrated all those events.  It boggles our minds at  how every event fit together to form a plan–all in God’s pursuit of Mari.  We pray that as Gina and Angeles continue to speak into the lives of Mari and her husband, that they will recognize their need for Jesus in their lives.  The husband has agreed to attend a retreat of which Angeles has participated.  She has spent some time trying to understand the situation, realizing that it has not been an abusive situation, until recently.  Both Mari and her husband are willing to seek help for the immediate crisis.  We pray they will reach for the Helper of all helpers!!

I feel like a proud parent watching her children grow up and take responsibilities.  Neither Gina nor Angeles was paralyzed by the opportunity that God put into their paths.  They both reached out with love and compassion.  Little did they know that they were reaching out to the same person.  Angeles has commented several times of how fun it is to be used by God!  We have marvelled over God’s orchestration, mentioning to Mari that God has been pursuing her, and has great plans for her and her family.  I pray that she and her husband will heed the pull of Jesus on their hearts.

Would you pray along with us for Mari and her husband and two boys, Fernando and Victor?

This is just one example of the many people God has placed in our paths these last couple of months.  There are many more amazing stories to tell.  A friend of a friend showed up at my door today, totally unknown to me, and we spent the next hour or so talking about her broken marriage.  Pedro spent the last few hours chatting with our neighbour who is recovering from his “homeless” street living.  Coty waltzed into our English session today in a much lighter mood since we spent last week’s session talking about her options for leaving an abusive, controlling home situation.  This list doesn’t even begin to cover our opportunity to bail a gal out of jail, care for her newborn baby and observe her session in court, with a woman judge who make Judge Judy look like Mother Theresa.  What an adventure all that has been.  But, again, that’s the subject of another blog.   I have to agree with Angeles– it is fun having God use you to help others.  You just never know when God will orchestrate events to put you in contact  with one He is pursuing.  HERE I AM, LORD; SEND ME!

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Mari, Fernando and Victor

Until the next blog,

Alicia, for the Krogsgaards