Well, never a dull moment here in Mexico I guess. We are gearing up for Aria’s 9th Birthday this weekend which will kick off the holiday festivities. In late November we have to make a trip to the border and then the next week is Thanksgiving. Now in the midst of all this we found out today that the landlord wants to raise the rent. The problem is we don’t have the $ for higher rent AND the house has serious problems. One of the biggest is the 8 leaks every time it rains and another is that no matter how many heaters we have or how rip roaring our fire place is we cannot get this thing warm! So……we are on a house hunt. We are going to try to stick it out until January and then we move!!! Please pray for an adequate house, that costs less than we pay now, we are able to warm and cool (with fans), has adequate electricity and good security. No small feat here I suppose but God can do anything! We are optimistic and a little concerned!
Monday, November 4th, 2013
Friday, October 4th, 2013
Life here in Mexico is tough! Some days are much harder than others but no day is easy. We have experienced a wide array of virus’ and intestinal issues as well as problems with the house we are living in due to the amount of rain we have received. Also getting used to being a “gringo” has its own issues. However some of it almost seems normal now, Angie has gotten good at shopping and it is just the way of life to pick up propane for cooking. We are anxiously waiting for the winter season as it will bring much less rain even if it is going to be chilly.
We have tried to immerse the girls into the culture a little bit. Monique’s love for Taekwondo encouraged us to find a place for them to train. We found a place but it lacked a lot of what we were looking for so we found a different dojang , it’s a much better fit for the girls. Both girls spent hours training for their red belts and learning the Mexican way of forms, we are proud to announce that they made it through the belt test and have received the rank of Red Belt! Aria has always loved dancing and we thought it would be a lot of fun for them to learn traditional Mexican dance. We have been blessed to have a great community center very close to our home that offers the dance classes at an exceptional cost and the girls are having a great time. Watching them perform with the other girls is a lot of fun as they sway and twirl.
Working at Los Niño’s Cuentan has been a learning experience. Unfortunately Kristi has hyper thyroid, a very treatable illness that is being managed by her health care provider. Because she does not feel well she is unable to perform her normal strenuous daily activities. While she recovers she has asked me to step in and cover her position, this is crunch time for us and we are to have most of the 2014 curriculum done by Dec 1st. There are thousands of churches waiting for the unveiling for the 2014 CSI curriculum and VBS. This has meant a lot of changes for me, and honestly a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of work and truly a learning curve but I think I am up to the task. Angie has been working in the crafts department and has completed some fun additions to next year’s curriculum by creating an activity book for the CSI program and designing the craft kits. It is amazing what you can create with a little foam, curly ribbon and paper on a very small budget.
It is such a blessing to have all of you praying with us, please keep these things in mind: Jon managing the team to get the curriculum done, and to stay healthy. Angie struggles a lot with being homesick and loneliness. Both Monique and Aria are still struggling with making friends, it is a lot harder to make and keep a friend when you are from different cultures and have a language barrier.
Blessing to you all,
Jon, Angie, Monique, Aria, Marbles, Lynk, Stray, and numerous large household bugs
Monday, September 30th, 2013
I read a blog this morning about how it is a myth that God will not give you more than you can handle. I too believe that it is a myth and have never seen anywhere in the Bible that says anything close to it. What I have seen is that God allows us to go through hard, terrible, crushing things but will always be by our side and His reasons are often beyond understanding. I have gone through devastating things before and can honestly say that knew God was right there the whole time, sometimes I could almost feel myself sitting in the palm of His hand and hearing the words “this too shall pass”. I lean on His promises everyday, I will honestly admit I do not read the word everyday and I don’t take enough time to spend with Him in prayer or listening to Him. But….I know He is with me, I know He holds me up, I know that He gives me strength.
Why am I writing this today? Sometimes we have to remind ourselves WHAT we know to be true. Life as a missionary is different than I ever expected, the loneliness can be excruciating and the homesickness can be overwhelming. Learning to live on a Much different income and living in faith that we will get a paycheck. Adjusting to the cultural attitude towards “white people” and struggling to understand the language are all small bits of what I walk through each day. Some days I just cannot handle it and break down, those are the days I walk in “what I KNOW” not necessarily what I believe but “what I KNOW in my KNOWER”!!!! God is faithful, and loving He KNOWS what He is doing even if I don’t and I will REST in knowing that fact!!!
Monday, July 15th, 2013
Sometimes when living in a different culture and speaking a different language you do some pretty interesting things to get your point across. Like this…the other day I went into the Arrora (grocery store) and I wanted some thick cut ham. Not turkey ham but pork ham. All the lady and I could do was NOT communicating for some reason. Maybe it was because I did not know the word for pork. I kept saying “No pavo jamon” that means “not turkey ham”. Realizing I was getting nowhere I started looking around for anything pork, to no avail. Finally the lady got another lady and I had a stroke of genius. I looked at the new lady and said “no pavo jamon, jamon and then I pushed my nose up to look like a pig and snorted! Right there in the store. The lady smiled and said Si, went to the cold case and got out the pork ham and looked and me and said “jamon, and then she squealed like a little pig! So I got my ham and went home. Retelling the story to Jon he laughed, then told me I could have just said Porko!!! In Spanish it is the same word you just roll your R’s! Uggg At least we got a good laugh out of it!!!!
Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Greetings from Puerto Rico,
Some time ago I found your page, losninoscuentan.com. We have loved it. This year was the first time we were motivated to make a camp for the children of the community. We used your free material EBV CLUB! It was a success, God moved in a special way. Not only among children but also among adults. Know that the Lord is using you in a great way and you are in our prayers.
GOD BLESS YOU MUCH BELOVED HNA. CRISTINA, YOU TELL THAT I’M WORKING ON MY CHURCH WITH THE HELP OF YOUR MATERIALS AND THEY ARE A HUGE BLESSING! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING,
I AM FROM THE COUNTRY OF BOLIVIA, COCHABAMBA CITY
hello! many blessings. I am pastor of Gate of Heaven Church in Yautepec Morelos, My wife was in a lecture you gave and she really liked your material, is a great blessing mainly because it is a gift that is priceless because it is the word of God, we are a small church with few resources where this material is a great help and blessing to us that is within our reach and enables us to share the promises of God with the children at a level they can understand, and even more is fun. Thanks to all who make this work possible. Blessings.
PASTORS: JOSE MANUEL LIMA AND DORA ALICIA GARCIA.
From: Samuel Ramos Sanfiel
Orthodox Church of God in Cuba.
Through brother Danilo Zuhul who has shared with many of our churches throughout this week, being an invaluable tool from our God. In an impact that has affected very relevant to the Ministry of children in our nation and around 100 teachers who had the opportunity to receive and learn from the wonderful gifts That the heavenly Father put into it. We met and received as a special gift materials sent by your ministry.
Thank you for providing this precious material that is invaluable to our teachers and a highly prized treasure. We’re happy with which we received resources received glorifying and praising God and with immense gratitude in our hearts by the big benefit that have already begun to give.
Some of these benefits: our teachers did not have material for their classes, because in our country there are no such resources, they awaken creativity, motivation, and inspiration of our teachers taking them to a higher level of preparation. Providing educational content, enlightening, and innovative in providing Christian resources that go beyond simple text. All this, among many other reasons will bring a multiplier effect, efficiency and excellence in our children and in the worthy responsibility that God has placed in our hands as instructors and trainers of the present and future of our children.
Receive our council to behalf of the greatest gratitude and appreciation. We deeply appreciate your generosity and service for the Kingdom of heaven. From the moment we commit to pray for his ministry so that many more nations can continue to receive this precious gift.
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
There are some amazing things happening here in Mexico. We are working very hard beside Dwight and Kristi. We are all working on next year’s Sunday School Curriculum. It is a lot of fun; the theme is CSI so each week is a new case. For instance The Case of the missing Puppy is the week of Creation. Jon came home super excited last night as he finally found the mascot for the curriculum. I have been working on writing the weekly Bible stories and there is a learning curve I have found out. I should not be in such a hurry and re-read the next day! Jon has been working on some information pertaining to Ecuador. We are working hard on getting materials to them but it is proving to be a little difficult through customs.
Jon rides his bike to work and home again every day. At first it was really hard but he has cut his time down so it must be getting easier. He takes mostly the back roads so I don’t freak out. The drivers down here are hmmmm let’s say INTERESTING. The other day we were driving and we were passed on both sides at the same time. Guess we were not going fast enough. Also on that same drive we saw the most amazing hail. It was the size of erasers but what was so cool is that it was in huge drifts where the wind had blown it.
A couple funny interesting things we have seen recently are:
1. A mo-ped carrying 4 adults and a toddler on a parents hip riding down the road
2. A pickup truck so loaded with Oranges that the front wheels barely touched the ground.
3. A man leading a donkey down the road with a rope hanging out his car window
We went to a neighbor’s house for a party. They are great friends of Dwight and Kristi, and it was different. We ate some odd things, some sort of fried corn thing filled with beans with Paddle cactus, onion and cilantro chopped on top. Then there was a pasta salad, elbow macaroni, mayo and bits of ham. And then there was some sort of meat, it had been boiled I think it was pork, but there was tripe too. I ended up with a tummy ache and Kristi saved me by switching plates with me.
We went to a church it was fun – we will find another one though. It is far away and the missionaries that run it are leaving on Furlough for year in Aug and they encouraged us to find a different church. So…we are going to try a different one this week that a lady from the shop goes to.
Cooking is interesting cakes puff up too high and fall. Pasta takes forever to cook, I cannot get rice to not be one big sticky mess (I am going to try instant next) and beans in the crock pot took 2 full days to cook. The elevation is very high 7700 feet and it makes cooking a learning lesson. But I am getting better. I have baked a few things and made simple adjustments like less leavening, less oil or an extra egg yolk.
The weather is odd too. It is the rainy season and boy o boy does it rain. The other day it rained all day and all night and all the next day. Then it cleared up and it is 80 degrees. When it rains that much everything seems to get wet, and nothing dries out. I climbed into bed and my sheets felt damp. Kristi said to just wait it gets colder in the winter and then pretty warm again. We painted part of our roof white because during the warm days it gets too hot, now we joke we need black polka dots up there to soak in the sun. There is not heat in the house at all so we snuggle under blankets and the dog wears his coat some mornings. Then other days it is so warm I just about melt. Yesterday it was beautiful we went to the outdoor market for fruit and veggies then to the shop. The shop gets quite warm and when we left it was so so so warm in our house and I could not cool it down! The fluctuation is hard to get used to that is for sure.
With the 4th of July next week the girls and I got out all of our Americana decorations and made the house look festive. Kristi and Dwight are going to come over for our 1st BBQ. We are going to have burgers, salads and apple pie, very American, if I do say so myself. We don’t eat out much as I end up sick almost every time. So Jon gets tacos for lunch once in a while.
Well that is a huge update. Things are quite good, we are adjusting much better now. God is good and faithful. And we have each other!
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Today June 13 marks 1 month since we have left the U.S.! What an interesting journey. I guess I will call it a journey for a long time. I still do not feel like this is my home but I am feeling more comfortable here. The house we live in has been made quite comfortable by my amazing husband. I am so grateful for his hard work. Today he is hard at work putting in more electric outlets currently there is only 1 per room. That makes it a bit hard when you have things to plug in and I guess as Americans we have A LOT to plug in.
Each day seems to get a little easier here. Running errands is still a pain; I think it always will be. Especially not knowing the language very well, even Jon does a lot of miming to get his point across. I do ok but I sound more like a 2 year old than anything. Oh well, the locals appreciate that I try. And I do try, but usually they forget and start talking to me and they talk so FAST! I catch like 2 words then yell for Jon. LOL I know it will get better; Jon always smiles at me when I attempt my Spanish.
Being a mom here has its challenges too. I thought making sure the girls were safe would be tough but honestly it seems safer here than it did there. The people are so family friendly, they love children and look out for each other’s children. We have let the girls walk to the corner market a couple times together and it has been fine. Helping them manage their homesickness, language barrier and cultural differences is a whole different matter. Monique is only 12 and seems to be of dating age here and gets a lot of attention. Teaching her how to deal with that is hard but Kristi is helping. I never thought of it before but it seems that in another culture ALL the rules change. Like how you interact with men, I cannot make eye contact for more than a second or I am flirting. Who knew!!! I guess the first couple weeks I was really flirting, lol! I am more careful now but it is weird because in the U.S. it is polite to make and keep eye contact!
Jon and I have never spent so much time together in one stretch in our whole marriage. We are on the same side of a huge task and we are conquering it. Keeping open communication is the key and I am not so great at it. I tend to bottle my feelings up and just clam up. Jon has been amazing at pulling my feelings out of me. I can honestly say that we are closer now than we have ever been. And that goes for the girls too. They are so super close, and we work hard on communication with them too. This is hard for adults it has got to be hard for kids.
We are excited for the girls though. They start Taekwondo on Tuesday. We went and signed them up and talked a lot with the Master and watched some classes. They do some things differently but they girls will catch on quickly. The Master said he would do most classes in Korean so we have a list of Korean words the girls are working on. Poor kids they live in Mexico trying to learn Spanish doing a Korean sport! LOL
I have been hard at work for Kristi and Dwight. I have been working on doing inventory control for Dwight and making a spread sheet of how much things cost including labor and printing. I am about ½ done with that project. For Kristi I have written 4 Bible stories, written a nursery help pamphlet and will begin working on an Ants craft book next week. That is the beginning! Woot!
Well, that’s all for now!
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Our little town on Axapusco is as cute as we remembered. The cute cobble stone streets are not as easy to drive over as we remembered though. Our house was not like we remembered, in some ways it was much better and others it was just different. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to make it livable. Such as, water, the city only turns on the water to fill tanks on the weekend evenings it seems so by Monday we were out of water. Jon and Dwight are working on a solution. We knew moving down there was much to be done so installing cabinets and fixing toilets, converting our gas stove to propane and the zillion other things that need to be done is nothing we did not know. But it is exhausting; a different culture means different expectations and different time lines. Errands take 3 times the amount of time you would hope they would. And as everyone knows projects always take longer than you think they should. All in all we have a livable home once we get the water issue figured out.
The weather is interesting too. We knew we moved down during the rainy season so we were prepared but living in it is different. It is beautiful each morning, the sun shines and it warms up to 75ish during the day and then at about 4 p.m. the clouds roll in and clash together making some amazing thunder and lightning storms. When the rain hits it is strong and hard for a short time then lightly rains for a few hours. It stops like someone flipped a switch, after the rain it is cool, almost too cool really. By morning you really do need a sweater or light jacket. I found my slippers right away as the tile makes me tosies freeze!
Life is different here, in a lot of ways right now it seems too hard. Honestly there are tears most days as we go through the changes of life, missing our friends and family and getting used to our “new”. I know that God is in this though. I can see His hand of grace each day on my little family. We ask you to pray that the girls meet some new friends, and settle in here. Please pray Jon gets through this exhausting phase. And that I can figure out what “normal” is. We work from the moment we wake up till the moment we drop in bed to get our home together so we can start spending more time in the Los Ninos Cuenten Office.
Jon has started working at the shop a little. The main server for the web site went down and he rescued it. There is much to be done, and we will get there. Each day more and more comes together.
So please Pray, We do, A LOT!
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Monday we loaded up the moving van and started our trek towards Mexico. We got further than we thought we would and called it a night in Shasta City CA. The next morning we got up and loaded ourselves our cat, dog, two kids and Jon’s dad in in the vehicles and hit the road. The cat stopped eating and drinking and by evening I was upset so a quick call to the vet and we were forcing her to eat via syringe. She started eating again after a day and a half of that. Who wants food shoved in them. Or wrapped tightly in a blanket, we did not want to be scratched up! So the second day we made it east of LA, that was a tough one. We had started at 9:30 am and dropped to our pillows at 12:38 am. Waking up in East LA proved to be nice. I got in a short quick walk to get some energy out of Lynk the dog and stretch my back muscles out some. We then loaded up, grabbed some breakfast burritos at McDonalds and hit the road. It was cool to see the wind mills, hundreds of them sending energy into their generators. But as for scenery that was it for the day. There was a lot of brown, lots of shades of brown. And it got hot, then it got hotter and then it was smoken hot at 108 at one point. We arrived in Tucson, got a room and called it a night. Up and at em Thursday. We had to unload part of the moving truck into the van and trailer and cross the border. In that kind of heat it was hard to do anything. But we made it to the border and 2.5 hours later with no problems but hot pets, (we had them in the air conditioned van but it could not keep up with the heat not moving) we were on our way. We made it to Santa Ana last night, got a room had some dinner and collapsed. We are all doing well. The pets have settled in for a couple days as we are here until Monday. Jon and his dad are making the other border run today. The should be back by 6.
God is good and gracious! I am so thankful things have been uneventful so far. I will say, pulling out of Scappoose was tough. I said goodbye to a life I loved. But I love God more. I have excitement for what the next season of life brings.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
It’s here, it’s time to go! We have heard from God through our Pastor, our family and friends and through His word that the time is now! Our dream of training and equipping Sunday school teachers in Mexico and Latin America will launch on May 14, 2013! Less than a month away!
What an amazing journey we are on. We are taking so many new friends and partners in this journey God has set us all on. You have blessed and encouraged us with so many of the stories we have heard while sharing our stories with you. Thank you for sharing your hearts and lives with us! We are praying with you. You are very important to us!
Those of you who are still deciding if you want to partner with us, now is the time to make that decision. We are going to hit the ground running once we get to Axapusco and you have the opportunity to run this race with us. We would love to share the blessing for being part of reaching 1 million children this year.
Now is the time to “get your pray on” that’s my little saying these days. As each of you know we are going to need a lot of prayer. Specifically right now we need prayer for a smooth transition. There is much to be done and a long road to drive please join with us as we make this journey.
You are Invited:
Commissioning and Sending Party
May 11, 2013, 3-4:30 pm
Branches Kids Building
52347 Columbia River Hwy
We are planning a wonderful celebration filled with love, laughter (and tears). We want to hug you and pray with you and express how very grateful we are. Please join us. You will not be disappointed.
Jon and Angie Kangas
52593 NW 1st St
Scappoose, OR 97056