Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Trip to PA - Part III

If you haven't yet read Part I or Part II of this saga, you can read them by clicking on the highlighted links.


And so, as you have read previously, we had a wonderful time in PA!  Sadly, our departure on Friday May 11th was drawing close.  But we were a little unsure how to proceed.

Because we already had planned that the kids and I would be coming home in July (because of my pregnancy, etc...), we were praying that the Lord would make it clear if we should return to Mexico with Michael as planned, or try to save some money by just staying in PA until the baby's due date.  We felt no direction to do anything other than what was originally planned, so Thursday before we were to leave, I spent the day packing!

Early Friday morning, we, along with my family, were off to the Harrisburg airport.  Well, when we finally got to the counter and tried to check in, we were told our first flights had been cancelled!!  They told us United had cancelled our trip because we had not shown up for the first leg of the trip back in April when we were having all those issues getting to PA!  (read part I) We had no idea ~ I had checked travelocity late the night before and printed our itineraries off, and everything appeared to be in order.  Now what were we to do?!

The agents at the counter said to call travelocity.  We called them.  They said to call United.  Round and round we went!  By the time we were able to get someone to get us straightened out, the boarding process for our scheduled flight had already been completed and we couldn't go.  Just great.

Michael and I looked at each other and realized this was our answer to prayer.  With this development and now the additional costs of needing to purchase new flights, it was not monetarily feasible for me and the kids to return to Mexico.

Although we would have chosen to know this information before we got to the airport that morning, we know that God's plan is the best plan, no matter the timing!

And so, we loaded our luggage back into the vehicles and headed north.  We were able to get a decent flight out of JFK the following week for Michael, and supposedly, we have a little credit from the airlines to help with our flight expense when we return as a family to Mexico in January.

Since that time, the kids and I have been enjoying spending the summer in PA with our families and trying to be a blessing in our home church, while Michael is ministering alone in Mexico.  The Lord has really been blessing and helping him there and I hope to post some updates from him in the next few days.  I'm sure he would appreciate your continued prayers for him.

Michael has plans to return home on September 20th, and our little baby girl is due September 30th!  As of now, we have plans to begin our fall deputation starting the middle of October.  We hope to see some of you at our services!  We'll also be able to spend the holidays here in PA with our families, and then we hope to return to Mexico the beginning of January.

And now, you know the rest of the story!!!  =)  Maybe I can try and keep this poor old neglected blog more up to date, you think?!!!

{ the boys have enjoyed going fishing with Pappy }

To see various misc. pictures from our time here in PA this summer, feel free to follow me on facebook, or my sister who posts lots of pictures of her nephews!  Or if you're not signed up with facebook, you can see pics on this album.

Our Trip to PA - Part II

If you would like to read Part I from our trip to PA, click here.

{ Our Visit }

We started off our month long visit with getting my sister married!  Congratulations to Josh and Brenda!

I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pics...

{ the beautiful bride }

{ me and my little sister }

{ the wedding party }

{ Brenda and her nephews }

{ our family }

{ Taylor preceded the bride down the aisle holding this sign.  It was so cute! }

{ my family - the Pardoe's }

Next, we spent a lot of time visiting with family and friends!  We had many evenings of enjoying good food, fellowship, and conversation!  We also really enjoyed worshipping with our home church family.  It was refreshing and a great blessing to our hearts!

And to those of you who don't know, we also had a doctor's appt. scheduled while we were in PA.  Why?  Well, we are pleased to announce that we are expecting baby #4 in about 10 more weeks!!  They also tell us that IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!

We are very happy and excited!!!  It will also make life a little more interesting as we are planning on starting our fall deputation about two weeks after the baby is due!! Whew...I'd better get busy organizing and planning now!

So now you know almost all the news...but wait!  There's more to this story.  Check back for Part III and how the Lord guided our steps in regards to our return back to Mexico.  Sometimes, the Lord works in mysterious ways...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Trip to PA - Part I

Hello - my dear blog friends!  I finally decided after more than 3 months, I'd better catch everyone up with all that's going on in our world!  It's been exciting...!

I may have to break up this story into three posts, because it's a LONG story!  And, I'll try to make it as short and sweet as possible!  =)

Let's start at the beginning with our originally planned, month long visit to PA...


April 16th dawned bright and early in southern Mexico.  We arrived at our little airport in Tapachula around 5:30 a.m.  The line checking in was a little long, but we gradually arrived at the ticket counter, received our tickets, and headed towards our gate.  On the way there, we had to stop by an immigration counter where the agent checked our tickets and passports.  Since we had never traveled abroad with our FM2 visas, we asked if there was anything else we needed to do.  His answer was 'no," so we continued on our way.

We were off the ground around 6:40 a.m. and enjoying our short flight to Mexico City.  Upon our arrival there, we found our next gate with no difficulty.  Since our layover was two hours, we settled in, ate some snacks, and relaxed.  During this time, there was an official walking around handing out tourist visa papers.  He asked Michael if we needed one, and since we had our FM2 visas, we assumed we didn't need one.

Around 11:00 a.m. we got in the line to board our flight to San Antonio.  When we handed our tickets and passports to the agent, we were told we each needed one of those papers (that we had not been given in Tapachula when we asked and that we assumed we did not need and so had never filled it out...) to be able to board.  Oops!  Now what?  The agent told Michael he would have to fill them out and then return back through the airport to get them stamped.  Ok.  I stayed at the gate with the boys while Michael did a mad dash back through the airport.  About two minutes before Michael came dashing back, they closed the gate.  We politely asked if the airplane door was still open and if we could board, but the agents simply looked at us, told us "no," and went about their business with no inclination to try and help us out!

From this point on, things started getting frustrating!  Because we had made an intelligently incorrect decision while booking our flights - by scheduling two different trips on the same day because it was cheaper - we now realized until we sorted through this mess and got our next flight rescheduled, we were going to miss our next trip in San Antonio and that there would probably be fees involved!

Now on the agenda was to try and get our flight out of Mexico City rescheduled.  That was almost a joke.  Every place we stopped to get help, we were sent to a different place within the airport!  We finally found an AeroMexico counter that would help us.  After much talking, they got us on another flight.  And unbelievingly, we were able to retrieve our luggage which had not been sent on.  Thank the Lord!

We were also thankful that I have a Verizon phone with a plan for both Mexico and the U.S.  It became very useful to us now that we had to contact travelocity and make new plans for our trip out of San Antonio to Harrisburg.

When we first called them, we were given information that we could change our trip flights for $180 a person.  Michael said he would talk to his wife and get back with them.  I then called my sister to see if she could check online and find any flights that would be cheaper than the change flight price.  She wasn't coming up with anything better, so we called travelocity back, only to have them tell us that we must have misunderstood and it would be over $500 a person to change our flights!  WHAT?  Well, we didn't want to do that, and our flight was getting ready to board, so we decided not to do anything until we arrived in San Antonio.

Upon our arrival in San Antonio, we gathered our luggage and went through customs and received a nice "Welcome back to the good 'ole USA, kids!!!!"  We were so glad to be there that we went out into the terminal, sank down in some chairs and breathed a sigh of relief!  Now to figure out the next plan.

We quickly decided it was getting too late in the day and we were too worn out to be trying and getting a flight to PA yet that same night.  So we got online, found a decent hotel with shuttle service and headed there first.

We checked into our room, got online again, and found tickets for the following day for about the price of the original "change flight" price we were quoted.

Next was to try and find some food!  With free shuttle service in a 5 mile radius of the hotel, we decided on Cici's Pizza.  Yum!  And all the kids got to eat free too!  =)

Once again, bright and early Tuesday morning, we were in the San Antonio airport and finally on our way towards Philadelphia with a layover in Charlotte.

And without any more complications (except a MAJORLY bumpy airplane ride!) we made it to PA and were greeted by my family!

Now we only had a few days to tie up loose ends in preparation for my sister's wedding!  Stayed tuned for Part II and some pictures!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

And...I'm taking a break from my mad dash of post dating out-dated blog posts!!!  (And, please excuse the strange word structure...)

I just wanted to let you know that I may be MIA from the blog for the next little bit (nothing new, right?). Why?  Well...we are SO EXCITED to be going home for a much needed rest.  Plus, my "little" sister is getting married!!!!!!!!!

So if you think of us at all on Monday, please say a prayer for a safe and uneventful trip to PA.  We leave in the wee hours of the morning, and get in pretty late at night.

And until my next blog post, please scroll down through the last several blog posts that I recently posted, but that are post dated!!!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Like a Drowned Rat

Have you ever heard the phrase, "________looks like a drowned rat!?"  Today, we realized exactly what that phrase looks like!

We have been having trouble with some rats in our outdoor storage room/laundry room.  We tried a few homemade traps, but nothing seemed to work.

Last evening I had filled the washer up with water in preparation for doing laundry this morning, and I left the lid open.  Wouldn't you know that when I went out this morning, there is this big 'ole rat hanging on for dear life!

Now the question became, "We've got it trapped, how do we actually kill the thing?!"  After finding an old broom, Michael started trying to push and hold the rat down on the bottom so it would drown.  After several minutes...mission accomplished!!

Next we took it out and prepared it for it's final photo shoot!  =)

How adorable, right?  Ok, so maybe not!!  The rat was probably 8 inches long, with a tail about the same length.

The only bad news?  When I went out this evening, I saw another (live) one!  Let the fun begin!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Busy Sunday

What a busy and eventful day yesterday!!!  We knew the day and all its events would be busy, we just didn't realize how eventful it could be!

Saturday evening, I (Crystal) started with a stomach virus.  I woke up Sunday morning still not feeling well, and wondering how I was going to make it through a jam-packed day.  What I didn't realize at first, was that Michael woke up with the same stomach problem.  Michael was thinking the Lord was really going to have to touch Bro. Butch Heath in case Michael couldn't make it through all the preaching, etc...  And then we found out that this crazy stomach virus had hit Bro. Butch in the night also!  Now life was getting interesting - we all had to give it our best and try to make it through the day!!

And so we gave it our best, and the Lord made up the rest.  Sunday morning, Bro. Butch Heath gave a challenge to us on family and marriage while Michael translated.

Then, since we have a lot of couples in our church who have only been married by the government and not in a church, there were several who wanted to take vows in a church setting.  What a bless-ed time this was!

Ramon and Juanita

Antonio and Sonia

Humberto and Edith

Benjamin and Naomi

After the morning service, we had a pitch in meal.  Unfortunately, the three of us sick people decided not to try the good smelling food because we surely did not want to make any hurried and unplanned trips to the bathroom!   =)

The next event on our schedule was to have one more marriage seminar session.  It was a SUPER hot day, but the Lord helped Bro. Butch and Michael as they taught.  Throughout the whole weekend, the people seemed to really enjoy each session.

If you're interested, you can click here to read about last year's marriage seminar.

Since we finished the events held in the church, it was time to take a short drive and hold a baptismal!!  It's always such an exciting time!  As we drove up to the river, we wondered if we were seeing what "the muddy Jordan" might have looked like!!  Wow!

What a blessing it was to watch these discipled converts share their testimony and then as the scripture says, "...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost..." (Matthew 28:19)






Anna Laura

To see pictures of last years baptismal, click here.

And so, after all these wonderful events, our day "of work" was finally done.  And you know what?  The Lord helped us and blessed us, and by the time we got home, we three sick ones were feeling pretty good!

What an awesome, but busy Sunday!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Our First MX Wedding

We were so happy to hold a wedding last night for Ulises and Ninfa!

If you receive the Prayer Band Newsletter Email from Michael, you may remember us asking prayer for Ulises and his family over a year ago.  Since that time, the Lord has saved this couple and changed their lives!  Ulises was an alcoholic, but the Lord has helped him to turn from this vice.

As new believers and a couple that now wanted to follow the Lord, Ulises and Ninfa approached us about wanting to get married.  They have two precious girls and wanted to raise their family for the Lord.    We were more than happy to try and plan a church wedding.  There was much excitement throughout our church family!  And Ulises and Ninfa were so happy to get married!  They had smiles on their face all evening!

The ladies of the church did a beautiful job decorating!

Check out these beautiful fresh flowers that hung from the ceiling!

Saying their vows.  Most of our people here are not accustomed to church weddings and vows, so this was a very special and sacred time.

Congratulations to Ulises and Ninfa!!!

We are also excited that this weekend, Ulises and Ninfa will both be getting baptized since they have completed the discipleship course.  Praise the Lord for the work He has done in the lives of Ulises and Ninfa!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Mountain Top Service

Today we took a "short" trip just across the border to Guatemala.  Michael had been invited to speak in a special service at Esperanza, a small town where our fellow H.I.M. pastors are opening a new work.

We started out our trip by leaving very early in the morning!  I had made sausage muffins and hashbrowns to take along for breakfast - our own version of McDonald's!  We were planning a smooth 2 and 1/2 hr. trip to Motozintla where we would meet pastor Javier.  Unfortunately, the very curvy roads and our greasy breakfast did not agree with Taylor!  Thank the Lord for wet wipes and a pastor's wife who washed the dirty clothes and provided pants for Taylor to wear!

After getting everything and everyone loaded in Motozintla, we drove for another 45 minutes on mostly bumpy, dirt roads that headed further up into the mountains.  It was a fun drive with beautiful scenery.

Once we arrived at the event location, I kind of felt like singing a song I remember from a film we used to watch in Science class.  "We're on top of the world..."

There were lots of people from our local H.I.M. churches represented at the service, plus some new people from the community.

After the service, we were served a meal.
Here's the people waiting in line for their plate of food.

Our plate of food.  The chicken was really yummy!

On our way home, we stopped to take a picture of the roads that we traveled that wind their way around, and then eventually up (or down) the mountain.

It was a long day for us, but a good day!  We trust the work of the Lord will prosper there in Esperanza, Guatemala.

*Stay tuned.  Next weekend we have a wedding planned, as well as a marriage seminar with Butch Heath.  We're planning to have a busy and exciting time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Santo Domingo Church Transformation

As mentioned in a previous post, the Lord has provided the Santo Domingo church with a new place to worship!

We had previously been meeting in Bro. Benjaminʼs home, but through the generosity of the previous home owner (who is now in the States attending our H.I.M. hispanic church in Maryland), we have our own building that sits along the main road through town.  Another blessing is that we have no rent to pay, only utilities.  Praise the Lord! 

The people in Santo Domingo are so excited to have their own place to worship!  The building itself had been neglected for awhile, so it was in need of some sprucing up.  The people got right to work, painting the inside as well as the outside, adding some fencing (so the children wonʼt run out on the road), and also having someone paint the church name, the times of services, etc.  Since itʼs a church for the people, we let them decide on paint colors.  The result?  A beautiful, typical Mexican styled building.

Check out the transformation for yourself...



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another Belated Post

Here's another belated post from the Masons final weekend with us.

We had scheduled a quick trip to Motozintla for another child evangelism seminar.  We all were to leave on Friday afternoon, but Parker got sick and had a fever, so I (Crystal) stayed home with him.

From the reports that were given to me upon their return on Saturday evening, the seminar went extremely well with most of our Guatemalan pastors attending and much excitement among the people.

Below are some pics that were either taken by Barry or that someone took for me on our camera.

The church in Motozintla where the seminar was held.

Participation on Friday night.

Learning a new song, "God answers prayer in the..."

Some of the children smiling for the camera.

Learning a new way to teach a memory verse.

Enjoying a meal on Saturday afternoon.

Learning to paint letters for an illustrated song.

Guatemalan pastors with their new Bible in Felt set.

We really enjoyed having Michael's parents visit us.  Not only did we enjoy precious moments together as a family, but we were also able to share our ministry with them and they in turn, were able to be a blessing to our churches with their knowledge of child evangelism.  Come back any time, Barry and Gertie!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Belated Post from 1-24-12

On the Tuesday that the Mason's were visiting, we decided to go on a "little" trip to visit a coffee plantation up in the mountains.  Now we had a brochure that said that la finca hamburgo was only 30 some miles away, but let me tell you, it took about 2 and 1/2 hours!  The road out of Tapachula was nice...and paved...  It's also where we stopped to take pictures of this natural arch of bamboo trees.

But then halfway into the trip when we really started to climb the mountain, the single lane road turned to dirt...and it became curvy and VERY bumpy.  The picture below doesn't really do the road justice.  And the bumps weren't helping those who had to use the umm, facilities either, but thankfully we were able to find some decent outhouses at a little school!

La finca hamburgo has a beautiful restaurant overlooking the mountains.  In the far distance, you could also see the Pacific Ocean on the horizon.

A classy restaurant in a relaxed atmosphere.  We chose to sit on the large veranda.

Beautiful flowers were sitting on each table.

La finca hamburgo - the coffee plantation.  We'd love to take a tour sometime.

Young coffee bushes.

Coffee being shelled at the plantation.

Even though the ride was seemingly long, we had a very fun day together (and the food at the restaurant was delicious)!