Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Brazilian Birthday

For Mom's birthday we decided to make it an adult only dinner to anywhere Mom wanted to go. She chose the new Brazilian Steakhouse that opened up near their house. Richard and I had never been to a Brazilian Steakhouse, but I'd heard of them so I was excited to go and try it out. The salad bar was amazing and could have easily been the whole meal but as soon as you flip over your card at the table the meats start coming!! I tried a little of everything, but I loved the bacon wrapped filet and the bacon wrapped chicken! So delicious!!! It was such a wonderful meal! 

For dessert Mom got creme brûlée and they even lit a candle for her!
Afterwards we went back to their house for gifts. I found her a Rangers shirt that said "I'm a Texas Rangers grandma...just like a regular grandma, only cooler"

It was a great night to enjoy family and to hang out kid free!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mission Trip to Mexico

For the last 5 days we have been in Mexico on a mission trip. It was an open invitation for all the church and we ended up having 50+ people attend. Richard and I took all the kids and there were about 4 other families with small children that went as well. We also had about 10 youth go, so we loved bonding with them as well as getting to know others in the church better. We left early Friday morning and Richard and I headed up the youth van. They had a blast playing cards, talking, singing, arm wrestling, playing games on their devices and sleeping. Before we knew it, we were in Mexico!

I thought this sign was funny!!

We made it to Ranchos Dos Countries ranch with plenty of daylight still ahead so we all enjoyed the spring fed creek. It was so serene and peaceful. The whole ranch was secluded and quiet and surrounded by God's beauty. They had peacocks and chickens and horses and rabbits and llamas; it was so neat to explore. At night, the lightening bugs came out and there was no way to capture their beauty! There were thousands of them all around us putting on the most beautiful light show.

The kids loved swimming and climbing trees and playing soccer and basketball. It was fun to see them making new friends with other kids in the church that we usually only see on Sundays.

After a little rest we started to prepare for the week. We separated into groups and bagged candy, popcorn and food to take out with us the following day. In a group that large the work went fast because everyone had such a desire to serve. 

The first two events we did were advertised, so we set up in a building and the people came to us. We had kid activities like jump rope and ball and coloring and yarn bracelet making. All the kids loved these stations.

Then there was music, a message and a time for prayer. During the prayer time the people just flooded to the front. We had translators, but there were so many people that we just had to communicate the best we could because the interpreters were being pulled every direction. 

After the prayers for all who wanted them, we handed out the bagged food, popcorn and candy and soccer balls. They were all so appreciative and grateful. There was no entitlement whatsoever from any of them!

The next day we went to church and again we were given an opportunity to pray over the people. On this day I was personally involved with two different groups who God used to heal knee problems. The first gentleman said he had pain so we bent down, touched his knee and prayed. When we were done we stood up and he was weeping telling us he felt heat around his knee while we were praying and that the pain was gone. It was crazy!! Then another gentleman hobbled down and said his knee and leg were hurting so he limped when he walked. We again placed our hands on his leg and prayed over him. Afterwards we told him to stand up and walk and he did, and his limp was gone. He just kept telling us thank you and we just kept telling him it wasn't us, it was God. There were so many testimonies of God's work at each place we went, so every night we would gather as a group just to share what all had happened to everyone. There were several other stories of healings and baptisms of the Holy Spirit and was just so powerful!

The next event was similar to the first day. Kelby liked helping out with the glasses station. At this station the people could come to get reading glasses and again they were so thankful. Many of them commented that they were going to be able to read their Bible again!
The people were so sweet and it was so fun just to love on them over and over in different towns and through different events.

Koby and Baylee and all the youth just jumped right in with the adults during the prayer time. I'm so proud of them and thankful for what all they witnessed throughout the whole trip.

Every meal was prepared for us at the ranch and was such wonderful, authentic Mexican food! We were fed very well the whole trip, but this night they decided to take us out for chicken, and it was great, along with great company to share it with!
Then it was off for ice cream and play time at the park!

The last day we did something a little different. The first part of the day we spent in one of the poorest parts of the area we were visiting and delivered food door to door and offered prayer. The "houses" were nothing more that tin pieces secured together with a sheet as a door. Food, clothes and shoes were all scarce as we walked the streets. I made sure my own kids understood how blessed they are to live where we do! One family even told us they didn't have any prayer needs, they only wanted us to pray praises and thanks to Jesus for their health! It was amazing and heart breaking all at the same time. One man we encountered accepted Jesus right there! 

Our last event we stopped in a neighborhood and delivered food door to door and then invited them to the pavilion to get more and fellowship with us. We again had all the kids' activities out. The boys loved playing soccer with all the local boys. 

Before we came on the trip, Troy had mentioned he felt like he was going to meet a boy with black hair who was good at soccer and they would play together. An hour or so into this event, Troy came over and pointed to a boy and told me that was him, that was the boy he felt like he would meet. The two of them were so cute playing soccer and jump roping. When Troy came over and asked me to take their picture I mentioned to him that we should find an interpreter to get his name and let him know you knew you were going to meet him. Troy agreed and then afterwards prayed over him. It was so sweet!
Troy and Gustavo
Troy with Carlos translating to Gustavo.
At the end of this event we were all super hot and tired, so we all really enjoyed getting into the creek when we got back to the ranch.

The last night they had a piñata for the kids to break and cake in a birthday celebration for one of the interns that works at the ranch.

The whole trip was so relaxing and a great time to spend in community. I loved how we were all like minded in our efforts everyday and we truly functioned as a family. Everyone was watching after the kids and helping out and serving one another and loving one another. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. We all came prepared and expectant and we will never forget all the miracles we witnessed during these 5 days.