Showing posts from 2011

The shepherds returned...

Quick update before a shower and then dinner with Rita... This entry is inspired by the Christmas Eve sermon at St. Paul's, which I loved. Pastor Smith talked about the very last line of the traditional Christmas story: "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told," (Luke 2:20). They didn't go shave their heads, put on sackcloth, and sell their possessions; they returned to their everyday work of being shepherds, but with a marked change--they were glorifying and praising God . I had a great time in St. Louis for Christmas. I brought 2 large suitcases of my things home (thank you Southwest Airlines!); it almost all stayed behind which will hopefully lighten the load in my car on Tuesday. I was disappointed at the lack of snow--especially since El Paso had a White Christmas--but overjoyed at spending my favorite holiday with many of my favorite people. When I wasn't hangin

A Christmas Story, Mariachi Style

Mariachi San Pablo had a Christmas Concert this year, on Saturday night 12/17! They had one in 2009, but that was before the release of their Christmas CD, "Gozo al Mundo ~ Joy to the World." I told Ann and Miguel (the manager and director) that I would bake them each cookies if they had one in 2011 since I dearly wanted to hear a full-on concert, especially one featuring the sounds of the holidays, once more before I leave for good. I'm pretty baked goods didn't have anything to do with it, but I was really glad that they listened to me! The concert included all the songs from the Gozo CD, plus several new ones. My undisputed favorite is still "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," although "Carol of the Bells" is a close second.  The group called it "A Christmas Story, Mariachi Style," and incorporated a skit with the Sunday school children at the beginning. You may remember that I changed my plane tickets home for Christmas so I could be there--s


I was in town for a Ysleta Lutheran Mission distribution! We give away 120 food baskets every week, but we do it up big every August for back-to-school and every December for Christmas. Somehow in my 3 years here, I have ALWAYS managed to be out of town, in a meeting, etc. for the both of our major annual distributions...until Saturday! I don't have numbers yet, but I know we gave away food baskets, blankets, toys, and hygiene kits to hundreds of the needy in our community. Hundreds more of everything listed above will be sent to our Juarez missions. Elvira and her corps of volunteers had the whole thing under control (as much as it's possible to have that many people under control), so I just roamed around taking pictures: A PACKED house for the abbreviated worship service that prefaced the distribution.    Singing "Un Dia a la Vez."  Kiddos in the church.  Pastor, Miguel, and Rita leading some prayer & praise and giving everyone instructi


I went to my first and only posada of 2011 yesterday. I'm not sure how it worked out that I got to attend all of them in 2009, but this year they are almost all after I go home for Christmas; last year was the same story. Oh well, I guess the dates just worked out right. Yesterday's was pretty toned down, but fun anyway--lots of kids! A posada is a traditional re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem. It's a responsive chant between one group of people representing the pilgrims and another representing the innkeepers. Generally the parade winds through the neighborhood and stops at various homes, ending at one where the pilgrims are finally allowed to stay. Then the whole thing turns into a big party with Christmas carols and lots of food! Ours had one stop, the church itself. I was one of the pilgrims. Chris didn't want to let us in! But finally he and the rest of the "innkeepers" relented! Perla and Cristal, twin girls who I thin

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Especially at Fred Loya's house! Loya is the owner of a local insurance company, and every year at Christmastime he puts on the El Paso Christmas Light Show at his house. This year there were lots of neighbor complaints about trash and noise--even before the City Council--but Loya won the right to continue the tradition. The show is held each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in December leading up to Christmas at 6:00, 7:00, & 8:00 pm; I went at 7:00 last night. It was cold but so worth it! Before and after the show, you can walk through the Loyas' circle drive that has been transformed into a winter wonderland. I took lots of pictures, and then there is a video at the end. I've seen something like this on YouTube before, but it was even more spectacular in person! Yes there was a manger scene! A pine forest on the side of the driveway. The Loyas' home as seen from the corner of the CrossPoint Lutheran church parking lot, where most everyone parked. Front entryway. Usin

Pillow Fight!

I don't know if there were any pillow fights, but there was a sleepover at Iglesia Luterana Sin Paredes that started yesterday and ended with this morning's 11:30 am worship service! I was able to drop by for an hour or so yesterday afternoon and snap a few photos--in between rehearsal for the Mariachi San Pablo Christmas concert and the mission's policy that we have to be out of Juarez by dark--but mostly I include this on here because of its milestone status in the life of a relatively new mission church. The whole event was entirely planned and executed by the church's faithful group of youth. From setting the schedule to fundraising for the refreshments to designing and passing out "cordial" invitations, they took the reins and ran with them, and it was inspiring to see! Even in these few images, you can see all the hard work that went into the pijamada : Welcome sign on the front gate. Watching Luther in Spanish! Chatting (and laughing) informally with Pa