Joanna's Journal

April 8, 2012
As I look back at these journal entries, I hardly know the person writing them. This season has been a very dark one for me. My Faith has been a battle ground. One I have feared I was losing. Just in the past few weeks, have I seen a bit of light off in the distance. My sweet time of growth with the Lord in Mexico seems so distant, it almost seems unreal. I have this picture in my mind of myself being eroded. Huge landslides of dark earth sliding down either side of a hill, until the hill is an imperceptible mound.
I am in the process of rebuilding. Rebuilding my support network on a local level. Rebuilding my parenting and marriage. Rebuilding my style, my musical tastes, the food I once enjoyed, all of it! I deeply value each one of you who has reached out in friendship with a note on Facebook, in the mail or voicemail. Thank you.

Our healing process continues and we are grateful for the LORD's faithfulness to us and gentleness.

May 25, 2011
Our family is back in Oregon for about a month. We are low emotionally, spiritually and financially. We have been connected with a ministry called They provide refreshment and coaching and we are grateful to be able to spend some time with a senior missionary couple, gain some perspective and seek some healing.
Honestly, I personally feel defeated and drained. And because of this, I feel as though I have somehow failed. On top of all that, as we have engaged people along the way home, I have this distinct feeling that I don't belong. I don't know where I fit. I cannot remember the last time I have felt this way. Maybe junior high?
We are very grateful for the provision of a home to stay in for a few weeks while we are visiting. The girls are excited to celebrate their birthdays with friends, and I look forward to fellowship with people from our church.
I would encourage any of you who cross paths with us to ask us any question you would like. We would love to share, but are not sure what is of value to you. Let us know.

April 16, 2011
Have a great Palm Sunday!
Our family is preparing to move - again! Next week we will move out of the basement apartment and into the Castillo again. We will be there until May 11th and then........ We could use some prayers !

April 5, 2011
This past weekend, Baja Bible School graduated their second class. It was a lovely 80F day with many happy faces and joyful tears. While we have only been a part of the BBS family since January, we have also witnessed growth in the students and staff and have seen the Lord keep His promise that He will not leave one of His children as they are. We are all growing. The Lord is even working on me! (Please see the Prayer Requests for more details).

We know that many of you wonder what on earth we are doing now. For the past several months we have been supporting the staff at Baja Bible School One of the needs they had was help with transportation and specifically, picking up and dropping off speakers at the airport. This has freed the director up to do other needful things. Kevin has helped with a variety of projects around the campus and we have hosted a group from Bend, Oregon (Thank you Journey!

Our other "job" has been taking a class called "Perspectives". It is offered by the Center for US World Missions It has involved a stack of reading, weekly homework and a cumulative project to show that we have read and can interact with the material. This class is designed to reveal the Grand Plan of God for the whole World. A plan of blessing. I have often lost my global perspective and have only thought of evangelizing - not necessarily what the Good News might look like for someone in another culture. It has been a thought provoking class and has also provided some "file folders" for Kevin and I to sort our short time in Las Palmas and things we experienced and observed.

The school year at BBS has ended and our Perspectives class ends April 27th. We have then committed to "castillo sit" for the director and his wife so they can take a well earned vacation. Our committment to Tijuana ends May 10th. Then.....???? Pray for us. We plan to pack the van and trust the Lord will reveal the next step for us as He has been so faithful to do.

Below are some photos from a trip to Ontario in February. Kevin's sister and brother-in-law gave Dad the gift of his whole family for his 70th birthday.

March 18, 2011
A long pause in my journal indicates the lack of internet and the progress of my children. My youngest is now 15 months and fully moblie. Capaible of scaling ladders in seconds, conquering stairs in a moment, and generally needing full time supervision.

We moved to Tijuana at the end of January with the intention of moving into a basement apartment. The family that owns the apartment decide they wanted to do some rennovations before we moved in. The week turn into 2, 3 and 4 weeks. We finally moved in on the last day of February. This officially terminated my access to wifi. *Sigh* I now need to bundle up computer, kids and trundle over to the Bible school, set up diversions for kids and find a way to contain our youngest. I have yet to master this techinque.

Kevin and I have found getting back into a class (Perspectives) both enjoyable and challenging as neither of us has been in school for quite sometime. I personally discovered there was a section of my brain that has laid dormant for more than 10 years. Wow.

Our family is all in good health and we are still seeking the Lord for what comes next for our family. Truthfully, finances have been low and we are asking if going into further debt is appropirate. I have also been experiencing some "stressers" and would appreciate prayers for my husband to receive extra grace from the Lord.

January 10
I recently overheard a parent instructing their young child, "If anyone asks, you are __ years old" It was to acquire free admission. It made me sad to think that something like this might be a pattern for this child, and that ultimately, these early years of blurred lines would effect the child. Maybe the child will not be a criminal, or even a chronic liar. It the very least, this child will remember that the model their parent laid was not one of integrity. Stick with me, there is a point relevant to the Magee's.
      I use this illustration because I have been convicted over the last several months, that I am not doing what God has put before me with my children. What impression will I leave with my children? I have been divided in my attention and need to focus more on the first disciples that the Lord has placed in my home. A captive audience, unless I let them leave the house, they are watching my every move and listen to everything I say (or yell). Although they are watching and listening, please don't mistake that for obedience and follow-through.
      So, this is my soapbox way of letting you, my loyal reader, know that as of January 1, 2011 I came home full-time. No more intentional ministry outside the home. This was in conjunction with some other factors that have caused our family to make a change in location. We will be moving to Tijuana for the next few months. We have seen the Lord answer some specific prayers about needs our family has for community, and purpose and we believe that for a season He would have us in TJ.
     A few specifics. Kevin and I will be taking a class for 15 weeks called Perspectives. This was confirmed through the receipt of the funds needed for the class and childcare being provided by some trusted friends. We will be living next to the property of Baja Bible School. This will provide our family with some instant community and much needed fellowship. We have been quite isolated these past few months. This will also give Kevin a chance to serve, while seeking clarity on next step for our family. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement. 

Dec 23
Moving closer to the end of the year. 6 months in this little town have taught us much. We are so thankful at this season of our Saviour's Birth. Jesus loves us enough not to leave us the way we are and we are blessed to be changed through this time in Mexico.
We were fortunate to go to Oregon for 9 days in early December. We were spoiled by our church family and friends (and our relatives too!) We celebrated one year with Jack and relished in the readily available warm water and heat.
We believe a change is coming soon. We will keep you posted at the Lord reveals His path to us. Right now we are trying not to lean on our own understanding.
Merry Christmas & Feliz Navidad!

Nov 27
It has been mighty cold here. Mostly because our blood has thinned out. Partly because temperature is dipping into the 30's at night. We also don't have heat as of yet. 
We have had Thanksgiving. We are thankful for so many things. A warm blanket. Familiar food. And breath. Jack had an acute respiratory distress experience on Thanksgiving day. We spent the later part of the day in medical facilities in the States. They couldn't find the source of the difficulty and suggested it might be hereditary. Whatever the case, we are grateful for the ease of breath that we have and ease of access to healthcare. We are also very grateful to our friends who looked after our girls while we went to the hospital. 

Nov 10
I watched my daughter skipping joyfully down the hill and yelling "Wahooo!" She had just dropped off a plate of cupcakes to the nieghbors. Several days ago, she informed me that she wanted to make cakes and give them to the poor. She also asked if there were some chores she could do for money to give coins with the cupcakes. The generousity of a 5 year old is simple, but profound. She worked for several hours pulling weeds and earned her coins. However, the "pan man" - delicious donuts - came by and when she heard the truck she produced her coins and gave them to her Dad saying, "Hurry Daddy, you need pan for your coffee!" Wow. She is more generous than I. Watching her today, I saw the joy that a person receives when they give out of a pure heart. It is better to give than to receive. Thank you Abigail.

November 8
We look forward to visiting Coastline, friend and family, celebrating Jack's first birthday and eating some of Nana Kate's cooking. We are not sure how will we deal with the lack of Vitamin D (read, no sunshine), but hope that the warmth of your company will cheer us. See you soon!

November 3
The saying goes that "Clothes make the man". You have probably experienced the joy of wearing the right thing at some point in your life to pull off  "that look". Maybe it was the latest Tony Hawk t-shirt, with checkerboard VANS, or a Hypercolor shirt that went from green to orange. Perhaps, ladies, it was a pair of GUESS jeans with zippers on the ankles. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Well, yesterday, I watched how a simple piece of clothing is suppose to invoke confidence. What follows is my observation. It is VERY American and the whole situation struck me as comical. I received professional care and I have no complains. It was just so outside my sphere of experience I really wanted to share it.

The medical clinic felt like the TV set of a Mexican version of the soap opera General Hospital. Sparse furniture, unusual lighting, and beautiful fully made up women. The "doctor" in a white coat wore heels that were at least 3 inches, but I couldn't tell if there were taller hidden underneath her boot-cut jeans. The x-ray tech wore a plunging blacking lace cami underneath her white coat with a sizable crucifix necklace taking a strategic place on her chest. Some of the equipment was modern, such as the computer in the lab room. But it was juxtaposed by the electric typewriter she was using to type up a card of information on me. I was enjoying a personal chuckle as I continued down the assembly line of medical folk. All casually dressed to kill. All wearing that symbol of medical knowledge - the white coat. I wish I had a picture.

October 27
What joy is found
In communion with You
Beholding your beauty
And knowing Your Truth
Living a life
That pleases Your heart
Responding with praises to all that You are........
A great song by Jeremy Riddle.
I have to admit, I thought I would get quite a few comments or emails from my last post, with mom's telling me to hang in there. I think I received 3 emails. Perhaps there are some of you out there who are simply responding as Job's friends initially did. They sat down and wept with him and sat in silence.....though ladies in general are not good at sitting in silence, in a group for an extended period of time. I am also SURE that there are those who have simply prayed. I KNOW because as I was hanging laundry, I was feeling joy. Thank you.
Over the past several weeks, the moments with Jesus have indeed been sweet, though too few. Please continue to pray for a sacred time for me and Jesus. I just need more Jesus. My daughter stated the other day, "I have to go to the hammock and read my Bible, 'cause I need to know Jesus." I would do well to take a tip from her. Thank you Jesus for my kiddos. Here is a recent photo when my parents came to visit. Our van died right before they arrived, so we borrowed a Jeep Cherokee and piled in Mexican style to do our site-seeing.

October 8
I am going to lay myself quite bare. I have hit a tough spot. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a child of God. I am an administrator. I am not doing ANY of these well. My husband had to sit me down and show me how topsy-turvy I had gotten. Tough to hear.

Honestly, I don't like being a homemaker. I don't think I know how to make a home. I think of those successful ladies as crafty - making chore charts out of homemade items, canning with conviction and whipping up meals without breaking a sweat. The whole perpetual laundry, dishes thing is a real downer some days too.
I do love my children, and I had always wanted to stay at home, but this is a TOUGH stage! Argh! Creating systems and order seems easy outside my home, but inside my home I am DROWNING (they say you should only use CAPS if you want to shout --yup, I'm shouting).

So this is a distress call. I am opening up a big window here for probably too much advise, but, if you have struggled in this area I ask three things.
First, you pray for me. Pray that the LORD would change my heart and that I would find JOY in MAKING a home.
Second, pray for the LORD to show my HOW to make MY home. It needs to be my home, not my neighbors. But I do need to teach and tend my family.
Finally, if you have an experience to encourage me with, please email me. I could use it. Thank you.

September 28
Check out this article on the plans for Valle de Las Palmas!

September 27
It is all around you. You just haven't been looking for it. OK, maybe you have seen it, but I am just beginning to be acutely aware of it. Spanish. On most packaging. No, I am not referring to things purchased in Mexico, but rather on items I have purchased Stateside. The Spanish is there. Sometimes in smaller print. Sometimes in BOLD right next to the English. It has helped me solidify words that I have been learning.
I was thinking about how this is true in our Spiritual lives too. There is a song by Twila Paris called "Language of Disciples" If I was blog savvy enough, I would put it here for you to listen to. Sadly, I am not that savvy, so you will simply have to search on the internet for it.
Some lyrics:  You can learn it from the Master, make and honest choice. You can learn it even faster, listen to His voice........The language is all around us, we just aren't looking for it sometimes.

Learning a language through immersion is the fastest and most effective way. Most would not refute this. Being placed in culture, surrounded by native speakers on a daily basis is the best and most effective way. So, as a disciple I can place myself in a "culture" of obedience to Christ - reading His WORD and modeling my home after His guidelines. I can surround myself with "native" speakers - those who have walked with Christ longer (often this is done through a church) and I can even do this through my physical surroundings.
Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim His handiwork. (verses 2-6 are good too!) Romans 1:20 states that, "...since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
I hope this week you will start seeing more of the "packaging".

September 20
Yes, it has been awhile. I have been busy, but wanted to share this recent experience with you. I have been researching the idea of coming to another country as a learner. This is the practice of leaving behind the American Way and learning another way – wherever that might take you. The art of humility and observation combined. Here is my story:

There was no front door; literally no covering or anything for their front door. There was no glass or screen in the windows. A young woman sat on the couch surrounded by thin plywood walls. Her enlarged abdomen was covered in an old gray t-shirt. Causally, this pregnant mother who was 9 months along informed us that Monday, she would take the bus into Tecate and have a Cesarean to birth her twins.

Please understand that a “bus” here is the oldest school bus you can imagine, and the road to Tecate is under major construction. It is ridiculously rough in a car with shocks, never-mind and old school bus, and the ride takes 1 hour to travel. The road would be rough, the bus hot, and she was 9 months pregnant with TWINS!

I asked what she still needed. Her mother laughed. What didn’t they need? They had some baby items, but still needed bottles, smaller clothes, etc. The mother said she knew the Lord would provide, though no one knew how.

While the pastors’ wife spoke with them, I tried to figure out what I could “do”. I had just found two free exterior doors on Craigslist. One was already earmarked for a project, but we had an “extra”. Ah-ha! I thought. I can help! I began to inspect the doorway. Embarrassed, the mother said, “Please don’t look at my house”.
I apologized and tried to explain that I had a door that would probably fit!
She should be excited right!?
She was reticent. (what!?)
The pastors’ wife explained to her that I had received the door for free and that it would be an extra item around the church. She brightened and then pointed out the other doors and windows that were non-existent. We told her we would do what we could. We prayed with the women and left.

After we left, I realized that as I was inspecting the woman’s house. I was conveying that attitude of coming to fix “the American Way”. My intentions where good; the need was evident, but my method was not appropriate for the culture.

The knee-jerk response of a learner is not “Well, she needs to be grateful. You are just trying to help her.” The response of a learner is humility and wondering how to convey compassion and concern without offense.

As Americans, we are seen around the world as loud, obnoxious and often offensive to other cultures. We are not superior to them, or their ways. We would do will to take the posture of an observer and learner. This is not agreeing with a method in another culture. Indeed, we have access to a wealth of knowledge. There may indeed be a “better way” to do something. But the expense of doing it “right” might be a relationship with a person that our Lord has created.

Jesus didn’t do anything the “right” way. The way it was always done. He operated solely to glorify His Father and He often did that relationally. I think of the times Jesus healed. It was typically one-on-one. Face-to-face. (Jarius’ daughter, lame or leprous). I think of the woman that he said he no longer condemned. Meals he shared with the man who would betray him.

I think of the cultures in the Middle East, where before ANY business is discussed you sit and share refreshments. Relationships are valued. “If I speak with the tongues of Angels and have not love…….” Dios, llĂ©name con Tu amor. Lord, fill me with your love.

So, how do I help this mother who would bring home two new babies to what I would have referred to at one time as “squalor”. Several thoughts raced through my head.What do I have that I can give this woman? I have “stuff” but not the things she needs for a small baby. I say I am Pro-Life, and stand for the life of the unborn, but here are two that WILL be born and they will need help too. Do we take this mother into our home? It doesn’t seem practical, and again, it would be the American trying to fix it.
Looking around my house, clean cinderblock walls never looked so luxurious.
My indoor plumbing for a bathroom never seemed so lavish.
The expanse of our yard and grass seemed excessive over the dirt square I had crossed.
The Lord has blessed our family here. 

For now, I will take the door over. I will bring a meal. I will be relational. I will ask my Father in heaven, what He would have me do for His daughter. His babies. I know He will answer.

August 29
Tonight I wore jeans, shoes and a sweater to walk the dog. It was cool and refreshing this weekend. The temperature? Only 80F. It was 72F when I was walking the dog. Yes, I am acclimating to the this crazy land of HOT! The locals are telling us that September starts the cooling off and it won't be crazy hot again until June next year. Cooling off is no small thing. Temperatures here in the winter dip below freezing and since we have not central heating, we are going to need to get creative. During the day it is said to be in the 60F. If you think of me, please pray that I will move beyond "me". I feel quite a few emotions right now and they all center around me. Never a good place to be for too long. There is no good thing that dwells in me. But Christ is in me and He is so good. He must become greater and I must become less. Here is great recent photo taken by "Mama Kellie" an awesome servant from Antelope Valley Fellowship. Missing our loved ones.
August 28
Acquired an 8'' piece of foam mattress last night. Fold and stuff into van, drive back across border, unfold and place on futon frame. Enjoy the sweet sound of my husband snoring. Its has been awhile since there was a deep enough sleep to reach snore status. He loves fall into bed and climbing out in the morning. I of course, would prefer something stiff. At this point ANYTHING is better than the non-mattress experience we have had.

August 18
Can hardly keep my brain working in a forward motion. Its is 105F and yes, I am officially melting into a puddle. Seriously. Today I watched sweat run in rivulets off my arm. Never watched that on myself before. Yup - gross. Many ice cubes and six cold showers later I am writing to my faithful readers to let you know that all is well and I still cannot imagine being anywhere else. I shared with someone this week that I never again want the life I had before in the States. If our time here was finished tomorrow, I hope I would never forget the simplicity of life and dependency on the Lord that I experience now.
Perhaps this all sounds a bit "holy"(please tent your fingers and pronounce the middle with a very round sound)....I am not. The Bible reminds me that there is no good thing in me apart from Christ. Indeed, He is the one doing good things in me here in Mexico.
The youth from Coastline are here this week and one of the girls commented that she wishes she was called to Mexico. This was on the way to our house on a beautiful sunny day that was NOT 105F. Perhaps she really does feel that way. There are still days I wish I could return to Oregon....see lush, thick, soft, green grass that could be laid as a carpet.....enjoy wearing a sweatshirt on a gray cloudy morning....actually NEEDING a warm drink.....clean streets.....playground equipment that is not rusty and dusty feet....sometimes it feels like a day in Oregon would be "normal", and then I could return to Mexico refreshed. But usually after a good sleep, something keeps me here for another day and the feeling of "strangeness" leaves for awhile.
Please keep praying for me. We are wrapping up a week of VBS...enjoy the photos.

August 9
"Mom! They all spoke English!" This was the excited commentary from my five-year old as she returned from Sunday School. We were leaving service at Pico Rivera in California. Our first church service in English in over 60 days. We ALL needed it. It was one of many gifts we experienced this past weekend.

Our family traveled up to the Anaheim area to attend the Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium. Our children witnessed the power of the Gospel first-hand. People learning the Jesus Christ loves them madly. Madly enough that he died for them, their imperfections and their sins. He arose victorious, establishing that all sins were paid for and that eternal life with Jesus was now available to those who would take the free gift.

It is always humbling for me to receive a free gift. Not the kind that comes with your purchase of $50 or more. Not the kind that you get for your birthday. No, I am talking about the one that comes from a friend, unexpectedly, that you know cost them something. Two come to mind right now.
             The first was from a friend who was a missionary. She sent me $5 at a very low point for me with a note telling me to go out for coffee and treat myself. The gift may not seem significant for you, but I knew that it had cost this person who raises their own support something. I wept openly at that note and the gesture of love and care; knowing that I could not repay the level of sacrifice....the money yes, the sacrifice, no.
            The second example I just received in the mail. A box of clothes for my kiddos. Not just any clothes mind you, but very fashion forward stuff. As a mom, anyone who gives to your kids hits a soft spot. This friend has also sacrificed to give my children something new and beautiful. And oh my, were those girls excited. They laid each piece out and tried them on. They talked about where they would wear these special clothes, and again I felt the humility knowing that I could not do for my friend, what had been done for my girls or the feelings that it brought me as their mother.

Do I really get it? The gift of freedom that was been given to me.......Jesus I am humbled and amazed that you counted me valuable to give the ultimate sacrifice, your perfect life.

August 3
Teaching Mommy Moment
Jack fights sleep like a maniac. Often I am frustrated and dismissive with him. Why won't he be on MY schedule and drift off gently to sleep? Today, in a completely Spirit-filled moment, I have this epiphany. Jack is singing his "swan song" ahhhhhhhh, and instead of being annoyed at his sound, I start sing along with him, harmonizing. Teaching moment: in my life, as I run across people who are not on MY schedule or are not making the "music" I would like, I am struggling against them, frustrated, or am I trying to harmonize with them...then we can all gently "drift off to sleep"or whatever needs to be done. I confess I have not been much a harmonizer.....I WANT to set the melody. Jesus by your Holy Spirit help me harmonize with others for your beauty and glory.

July 31
I have returned from a FIESTA! 91 anniversary of Valle de Las Palmas. Puro Valle...pure valley (its all about the Valley!) It was a small town festival complete with carnival rides, lots of food, a girl being crown queen of the valley--yup a valley girl....and of course cheap things that light up. It was topped off with great fireworks done at random intervals. Only in Mexico. It reminded me of Crazy Daze in Dallas, Oregon or I imagine any other small town festival. Tried Raspando--a jazzed up snow-cone type treat...mine was coconut with shave coconut on top drizzled with condensed milk...muy rica! The girls each choose one ride...Audrey a kiddie ride in a Ford Truck and Abigail choose the classic tilt-a-whirl...of course I had to ride with her. We capped off the evening with Kevin riding a mechanical bull. Enjoy the photos.

July 26
Our kids have been doing great. Thank you to those of you who have been asking. They are picking up phrases in Spanish and I hope they surpass Kevin and I quickly. They talk about friends at home they miss, but they are friends with the Villegas boys and that has been a great blessing for us. They find Sundays harder as their classes are in Spanish and they don't understand, but what better way then immersion. They plunge in and play with others chatter away in English as the others turn to us and say No Entendo..I don't understand.
  The girls both still wear dresses, and Audrey has mastered changing her clothes and does so at least 5 times a day. She is potty trained now and tells me she needs more underwear.....
Abigail loves the dog. Audrey is the same height as Loba so there is fear there and Jack wants to put Loba in his mouth, along with everything else. He loves avocado and watermelon and anything else that comes within 12 feet of his  mouth......yikes! It is ONLY THE LORD that has kept him from being ill. Here they are playing kitchen together.

July 25
We have acquired a German Shepherd. We have named her "Loba" which is the feminine form of "wolf" in Spanish. She began following Kevin 2 weeks ago. A sad scrawny dog. You could count her ribs and see her hips. He gave her no food, water or affection. As he walked back and forth each day she would follow him. We had been saying we would "never get a dog" and then this dog arrives out of nowhere. None of the neighbors had seen her and she was friendly and docile...unusual for strays here especially in the heat. Finally last Saturday we gave her a bucket of water and scraps from dinner. On Sunday morning she walked Kevin and the girls to church. Sunday afternoon, we let her in the gate. She gladly sniffed around and found a cool spot under the pomegranate tree.
We have been giving her limited food for the past week and watching her closely. We have been told that females are often abandoned here due to ease of pregnancy. Hassan commented that our security just went up. Here is a photo of our security feature

July 22
Everyone has a breaking point. Mine has not been the spiders I have killed (Tarantula, black widow) or the water beetles that greeted me in the bathroom. It has not been the one bedroom living with a family of five nor the lack of private time with my husband. My breaking point has been the heat! Several days of hot weather over AC...not enough water to take a perpetual cold shower. Freezer refusing to FREEZE the ice cream. I become cranky and generally no good to anyone.
We have many plants around our house and some of our favorites are the grape vines. They offer wonderful shade and a great visual lesson for John 15 with our girls. As I have been talking with them, I definately feel like I am being pruned! But you cut back a vine to a nub to get sweeter, better fruit. In the meantime, the vine looks unproductive and ugly. This is how I feel right now. Unproductive and ugly. But when the Lord allows me to grow again, I will produce sweeter fruit through His Son (my source) Jesus. Thank you Lord.

July 13
What a busy time! I am posting from my house though! Internet ahoy!
*Jack is crawling very quickly now
*It appears we have one more child out of diapers! Praise the Lord
*Half a roof (decho) was completed last Saturday. We hope by August to have 2 bedrooms, and a living room/kitchen
*Kevin's Spanish is improving quickly
*Kevin's guitar playing is also coming along

June 29
Saturday, June 27th was our first night in our casita. It is freshly painted inside and cleaned from top to bottom, though there is dust everywhere all the time. The first of many losing battles I am sure. Sunday afternoon we traveled to the Calvary Chapel Bible College in Ensenada for a picnic with other area missionaries. There we had an adventure with a rat snake ( not rattler). Enjoy this clip.

June 27
Time for some fun!  A Top 10
You know you have moved to Mexico when……..

10. Your children have learned, “If it’s yellow let mellow…..”
9. You hang your wet towel in the sun and 10minutes later it is dry.
8. You are excited because your new house has bars on the windows and a barbed wire fence.
7. Your alarm clock has been replaced by the rooster crowing out the window.
6. Your guest asks you if your children have a toy tarantula…….they don’t.
5. Your children don’t want to drive to the States because they have to be buckled in
4. You can patch the sidewall of your vehicle tire with a bicycle patch kit.
3. Road crews use an orange flag to tell you to slow down, drive faster or stop, and you need to figure it out.
2. You can move your kitchen from one room to the next, simply but drilling a hole in the wall for propane.
And the #1 reason
You experience a peace that surpasses all understanding and you know the Lord has your right where He wants you

June 25
Stuff Happens! With a statement like this, do you think of the bumper sticker with the less appropriate sentiment? Or perhaps you are a glass half full, kind of person, and think of this statement in a more positive light, such as “Look what God can do!”.  I admit, I am more of the bumper sticker mentality.

This week, I have read a book to my children titled, “I Could Have Been Worse!”. It is the story of a little mouse and his mishaps on his way home. While he views each accident and incident as painful and a determent to his progress, he does not see the dangers he has avoided. Yup, you could see this analogy coming now. The Lord does this for us all the time. “Lord, why did you allow______?” But it could have been worse! I am not sure of all the things the Lord has saved me from, but I KNOW that things could have been worse!

Now back to “things happen!”. We have been in Las Palmas for 8 days. One Monday, a group of 8 people came and began working on our house in earnest. The entire inside has been painted. Furniture was salvaged and painted. An electrician came and wired a fan, lights, and some new outlets ( Gotta love the fact that you don’t need to wait on permits!) Weeds were cleared away revealing many roses, fruit trees and a lawn mower ( not in working order---details). We were instructed to make a list of our needs and wants. Then a few calls were made and things happened! We have some carpet showing up ( used, but free!) Three windows, a high chair, a ceiling fan that had been waiting for a place to hang…paint showing up, the list is long.

Now, things happen, and happen best, when I don’t try and figure things out. We decided recently, that if we could easily “figure it out”, it might not be God’s best for us right now.

June 19
Saw my first tarantula the house....near my son. Yup. We crossed the border safely Wednesday. We transferred the contents of our roof to Hassan's vehicle and we pulled up to the border, and the gate went up. My dear husband turned to me and the emotions of relief flooded his face as we passed through. Thank you for all your prayers!
 Here is a quick picture of our "humble dwelling". It has hot water, shower, VERY clean toliet, stove and fridge(which we were told we may have to purchase) one bedroom and other room that needs a window and a few things and that could be another room. There is a porch area that could become the living room. Other Praises: It is FENCED all around - my kids can play outside. It is 1 block from the church and below the Villegas house...this is a HUGE praise for me as I thought I might be on the other side of town.

Kevin had to leave on Thursday for the men's retreat. and Stacy had to leave too. and Rachel was gone. This left Rebekah to help us...but then her puppy got really sick...the adventure is in full swing. Kevin returns on Sunday night and I am looking forward to seeing him. Yesterday was overwhelming with sad kids, cleaning the house, trying to figure out where and what to eat and feeling stuck. I have a new respect for the folks that hit the mission field solo!

June 15
Feeling much more rested after several night at relatives in San Rafel. A good preparation for the temperature change for us too. We have been in 55F weather and we experienced 95F...but with a nice breeze. It was the first time I really began to wonder what on earth I am about to do. We traveled down to Lancaster, CA today, and hope to cross the border to start practicing my Spanish!

June 11

Departed Portland at 5:30AM. Somewhere on I-5 as we are being passed by semi-trucks we decided we were not freeway people. So off onto Hwy 199 we went and to Hwy 101 through the Redwoods. Surprisely, we bought felt great relief at being off the beaten track, though it is taking much longer to get South. We figure with the load on our van we shouldn't go much over 55mph and that speed fits Hwy 101 nicely.

By the way, we confirmed there is light at the end of the tunnel.

June 10
After some delays we are underway! My husband did this spiffy little number to carry what we can. It looks like the Iditarod sled race to Mexico! Sadly, after a test drive through town, the bike on the front was deemed "a visual impairment" ( we were both dizzy). We nixed it. We will be hosted in the Bay Area by my loving Aunt & Uncle and then onward! Thanks for tracking with us!

June 5
Joint party for the girls today. Pin the tail on the donkey. Pinata. Candy. Cake. Overdose of sugar anyone? Thank you to all who came and made a memorable party and farewell. We have coloring books until Christmas!

June 2
I celebrated my birthday today by packing boxes. To be fair, I was taken out to breakfast by a few friends and a movie with my hubby tonight.

9 days to go...
So today the pictures came off the walls. This makes the home feel like a house. Saddest part of packing for me.
Our kids are getting excited about seeing their friends down south again.
Our oldest wants to go to Kindergarten there. This would be a great immersion experience. We will see.


SandiB said...

Hi Magees!
Hope you are all healthy and happy there! I am re writing my post because it didn't work the first time. Stay filled afresh daily with the Holy Spirit and keep your eyes on Jesus is my best encouragment for you. I look forward too seeing what the LORD does with your family and am happy with what I see already:)
God Bless you all and Say Hi to my loved ones there.
~Sandi Bennett

Anonymous said...

It is good to hear what is happening with you all. Our message at church last night was about submission to the One who can manage all things well. Fits right in with what you shared today on the blog. Serve the Lord with gladness!
William says,"I love them." "Godisgood!" Abraham says, "We miss you.I am praying for you."
much love sent from the Millers!

Michael Slivkoff said...

Great journal Joanna! Very fun, informative, and refreshing. I love you, and I miss you all.

Anonymous said...

You guys have really inspired me with your commitment to go wherever God leads, no matter what the cost.

Just know I really love you guys and miss you. Praying for you. Love Webber

Anonymous said...

Dear beloved Magee family, seems the dog is a good thing,provided by the Lord. So is the pruning.Even though is hard. May you be full of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and bear much fruit. Love, Lori

Anonymous said...

HI Joanna! So fun to read about all that the Lord is teaching you. He is so good. He loves you unconditionally! Even when you think you are failing...He loves you! (and everything else becomes meaningless under the sun) :) I am looking forward to coffee with you!! Love you ~Kathy