Babies are still growing

Banana III

While I have been gone the last week, the bananas have continued to grow. It is amazing to see the change over a week’s time. I had been used to looking at them daily and could see a change. A week is incredible!

There are now over 15 hands in some stage of development. We will probably only keep the top 10 or so. I need to look and see what the recommendation is on cutting off the bottom ones. I am sure I have read somewhere that you should cut the ones off that are obviously not going to develop into usable bananas, but I have not taken the time to fully research that.

As you can see in the picture they are developing well compared to the last picture.

If you have any banana growing tips or tips on how to use a huge pile of bananas quickly, I would appreciate any response.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great day with friends. The morning started with football. Not the kind you watch, but the kind you play. A group of 17 men and boys gathered at one of the local parks for some touch football. We left the ladies and girls to put the finishing touches on the food for the feast we were going to have later in the day.Coffee Cake braid

When we got to the park we were surprised to see that it was quite full with school students competing in a nationwide track and field event. This is not really a park as much as it is a full sports complex. There is a soccer stadium along with baseball diamonds, tennis, racquetball, and handball courts. There are also a couple of weight rooms, gymnastics rooms and a 1 kilometer dirt track that goes around the inside of the surrounding wall. Many other sports types are practiced and competed at this complex.

After we found a place to play ball (the outfield between two baseball diamonds), we had a great time. No one was seriously injured.

Before the ball game I had gotten my desert ready to go in the oven. I made a braided coffee cake sweet bread. I was super pleased with the way it turned out. I got it all ready to go up to the final rise. My wife then tossed it in the oven for me to bake while we were playing ball. She still had her carrot cake to ice, corn and sweet potato casserole to cook and potatoes to smash. She stayed busy while we had a fun time.

Part of the group around the foodWhen we got to the other missionary’s house, we unloaded our loot and added it to the feast. We had 10 families consisting of 48 people, if my count is correct. Each family was to bring a desert. I know several who brought two. That means there were at least 15 different cakes, pies, cookies, fudge, sweet breads and other sweet goodies to wash down the 3 huge turkeys and fixin’s.

We then sat around and talked and watched football for the next several hours while the kids ran around in the back yard. For some reason the kids were hungry and wanted more food before we left while the adults will be satisfied for a few days to come.

Here’s to wishing you a happy Thanksgiving as well as a wonderful holiday season to come.

Church dedication

The Deaf who were at church WednesdayThe reason I took the wild bus ride to Tampico was to take part in an exciting week at one of the other Deaf churches here in Mexico. This is a church that was started by an American missionary who is also Deaf himself. The church celebrated their 8th anniversary this week as well as ordained their new pastor. He took over as pastor during the week. The missionary will be with him a few more weeks and then will be leaving Mexico to visit his supporting churches and pray about where God would have him go next to start a new work.

I had a great time in Tampico. I met several people from First Coast Baptist Church, including the pastor. Pastor Edwards and family were missionaries to Kenya. I was able to grab an interview from him and his wife for Missionary Talks. There were also a few of their Deaf from church along with an interpreter and her husband. A couple of other special guests were there. One participant was Allen Snare. I did not know he was going to be there. Allen has been a good friend of mine since back when we both had much more hair, almost 20 years. Because of our ministries, we have never spent more than a week at a time together and we always spend a lot of time catching up on each other’s work.

Ordination counselDuring the week’s activities we had an opening service in which close to 50 attended. There was even one service early in the week where we had about 75 people. This church normally has 20 to 40 people in attendance on a regular basis.

The church was also celebrating their 8th anniversary. I was able to be at their 5th anniversary a few years back and have built a good relationship with the people.

The missionary, Jim Walterhouse, who started the church was pleased to have the building completed. It is not totally done, but it is very usable. The church people now have a building that they can work on to completion. While we were there we applied plaster and paint to some of the walls. I took part in some wiring and plumbing to help get ready for the weekend.Pastor Francisco at Dairy Queen

The final major activity of the week was the ordination of the new pastor. I was honored to be a part of Francisco’s ordination counsel. We were not able to go through the legal paperwork this week to officially organize the church. Otherwise, we would have also done a church vote and installation of Francisco as the pastor. As it is (and this is just a technicality) he is the pastor of the mission. Until it is officially a church, they will not vote on him as pastor.

I got to spend some time in downtown Tampico. In my many trips to the city (more than 10), I have never had the chance to roam around downtown. It was fun to hit the tourist market. I spent so much time interpreting for all the other visitors that I forgot to do any shopping of my own. I would have liked to pick up a few gifts for my kids. Our part of Mexico is so different from the rest that there are neat souvenir items that the kids would have enjoyed. I guess I will have to go back again.

The missionary there will be leaving the church completely to Pastor Francisco by the end of the year. I will still be back there on a regular basis though and keep up a good relationship with the church. I have only known Francisco since July, but we have built a friendship with one another personally. He is planning to spend a week with us and our ministry in the spring.

53 hours on a bus

I have a pile of stories to share from my 53 hours on buses this last week.

It took 27 hours to go from Mérida, Yucatán to Tampico, Tamaulipas, México. The return trip was just 26 hours. I won’t bore you with all the details in one post, but will try to pick some of the highlights to share over a little bit of time.

I was going up to Tampico for a church’s 8th anniversary. We also did quite a few things in the packed weekend. We held an ordination counsel for the new pastor and a special service. I have been through all of that as the one being ordained (yes, I am Rev. dpeach). But this was the first time I have gotten to sit on a counsel and fire off the questions. We also did some final work on the building hooking up the water and installing some bathroom fixtures. There was quite a bit of final plastering work and painting that went on during the week as well. I managed to be involved in more administrative tasks this week and skipped out on the painting. A good thing since I did not take painting clothes with me.

The trip up was to be a straight trip on one bus. The first bus had a leak in the roof’s emergency exit and had to be traded out when the rain started. I never knew what the problem with the second bus was, but we eventually moved to a third bus. They were all very nice buses and therefore I did not mind the move.

We stopped 11 times on each trip, up and back. These were mostly short stops of 30 minutes or less. That is pretty good compared to my time on Greyhound buses that stop at every dinky town.

The trip home was not as enjoyable as far as the bus equipment was concerned. To start with, the bathroom door, though it would latch, it would not lock. There had been a repair done to the door jamb that necessitated the disabling of the lock system.

After trying to use the bathroom and hold the door closed (in case someone tried to barge in), I tried to wash my hands. A push of the water spout resulted in one drop of water falling out of the faucet. There were no paper towels and the toilet paper supply was pitifully low.

At my seat, the dome lights did not work. One of my goals on this trip was to catch up on a good bit of reading. I ended up spending a few hours reading with a flashlight. I was thankful that I thought to bring one.

The air conditioning on all the buses was too cold. So cold, in fact, that I wore a thick T-shirt, a long sleeved dress shirt and a sweatshirt. I still froze. I had planned to bring an extra pair of socks to wear on my hands as mittens for the trip back home, but forgot to grab them out of my suitcase. I moved around to 3 different seats that were available at any given leg of the trip and all of them had broken vent cut-offs. It was miserably cold.

Did we get to change buses on the trip down? No. Not even after someone bathed the bathroom in puke. They simply cleaned it up at one of our stops and we kept going.

Even though the trip was one hour shorter on the way home, it seemed much longer.

Coming Soon!

I am away on a trip right now and have not had time nor much internet access to keep you up to date. But, rest assured I am getting some great pictures and sounds to share with you.

I should be back home and start posting again on Tuesday.  Be prepared to read at least a few stories from my 50+ hours on long distance buses.