CHRISTMAS IN MEXICO
NAVIDAD EN MÉXICO



Mission Trip 2002


        Around the 1st of November, Evan and Terah believed that the Lord was leading them to return to Marin, NL Mexico during their Christmas break from college, and assist Gill and Glenda Barnett who have been missionaries in Mexico for almost 20 years. Gill and Glenda are from the central Indiana area, and re- turn to the midwest yearly to report to those churches which sponsor their outreach, known as 'Shakinah Ministries.'

     It was during one of these trips that Terah had first met them. She became better acquainted with the Barnetts when she and Angie spent several weeks working with them in Mexico during the summer of 1999. Gill and Glenda oversee 9 different soup kitchens in the Monterey area as well as another 9+ kitchens in the Philippines.  During the time that they have worked in Mexico the Barnetts have planted numerous churches and have raised up and discipled the local pastors who operate the kitchens and minister directly to the needs of the people in their areas.


    When in Mexico, Gill and Glenda live in Marin, which is about 30 miles NE of Monterrey, which in tern is about 130 miles south of Laredo, TX.  While Evan and Terah flew into the Monterrey airport, Alice and I were to drive from our home in Kansas, IL, a distance of 1,314 miles, but I will get to that in a minute.

    During one of our other Sunday services in  November, the Lord had me relate how 19 years earlier, He had provided for us when we were living in the country during our ‘wilderness’ ex- perience. Allow me to digress for a moment. I had stopped prac- ticing law in June of 83. The Lord had told us to trust Him for everything, and that we were not to ask for assistance.  Further- more, whatever lessons I prepared were to be distributed freely and we were to not charge for anything.  As such, I had no idea what this Christmas season was going to hold in store.
On December 23, 1983  Ellen 'A' gave us a turkey to have for Christmas dinner.  We had no money to buy anything else, including bigger presents for the boys, but God gave us peace.  December 24th that year dawned with cloudy skies. Soon there was a huge snowstorm with 20 degree below zero temperatures.  It looked like whatever we had in the house by then was going to be it.

     However, God had other ideas.  About 11:00 o'clock in the morning we saw a truck come plowing through our driveway.  Ron 'C' from Villa Grove climbed out and brought in two boxes of food, including another turkey.  Remember, God had told us that we were not to ask for anything but trust Him to provide, so all this was unsolicited.

     Christmas morning came, and it was cold and clear, with a foot of snow on the ground from the day before.  The boys opened the bag of small gifts which a dear sister in the Lord had given us after church the first Sunday in December. They were happy with what the Lord had provided, and Alice cooked one of our turkeys and we sat down to a wonderful Christmas dinner.

     In the early afternoon another truck appeared in our driveway. (We lived 9 miles from Charleston and 3 miles NW of Ashmore.  Our nearest neighbor was 3/4 mile down the road.) The visitor was Steve 'H' from Charleston.  Apparently God wasn't through providing for us just yet.  Steve came in with two big packages, a bag of candy and some good old fashion junk food.  God hadn't forgotten the boys "big" presents. Jeremy received a motorcycle race set and Evan got several cars and a truck in his box. (If you are interested in some additional information about our back- ground, and our 7 year wilderness journey, please check out the article entitled 'Pastors House Burns Down - In All Things Praise The Lord.')

    When I was through sharing about how God had provided for our family Christmas celebration in 83', I mentioned to Evan that it would be great if they could take some toys down to the kids in Mexico. My thoughts were that he could return in small small way what God had done for him as a child - not so much a pay back sort of thing, more like a 'pass it on.' He of course reminded me that they were flying, and that it would be difficult to take very much. At that moment the Lord had me walk into the small room at the East end of the fellowship hall. On the blackboard that we keep in there I had a large wall map of the world that we use to mark what countries had contacted us about our web site.

    I remembered that Evan and Terah had said that Marin was near Monterrey. From the map I saw that Monterrey was about 130 miles southwest of Laredo, TX. In spite of my trepidation about driving in Mexico, the Lord said that instead of Evan and Terah taking a few gifts, Alice and I should drive a pickup truck load of toys to the children served by the Barnett’s mission outreach! While that would be close to a 3000 mile round trip, both Alice and I had 2 weeks off at Christmas, so we also had the time to make the journey. When I returned to the main part of the fellowship hall I shared what the Lord had just told me. Everyone said it sounded right, but we all agreed to pray about it.

    The following Wednesday afternoon, as I was driving home from work, I experience problems with my truck, and had to be towed back to Charleston. This incident pretty well cleared up any concerns I had had about making the trip. When satan tries stop us from doing things by using tricks like that, you can pretty well rest assured that you should proceed. A few days later I found out that not only had the transmission gone out on the truck, but the rear end had also been damaged. The total repair cost was going to be $4,500.  The major problem with that was that the Blue Book value on the truck was on $4,000.

    Not to worry though, as it turned out, a 2000 model F 250, 4-wheel drive diesel pick up had been traded in just 2 days before my truck was towed in. We prayed about, got the price dropped several thousand below book value, were able to arrange the needed financing and soon had this beautiful newer truck. Now, instead of driving a 1992 Ford diesel pick up with 220,000 miles down to Mexico, we had a truck which was 8 years newer and had only 37,600 miles on it. As usual, what satan means for evil, God turns around for our good.


    For the next 3 weeks people delivered toys to the coffee shop Evan & Terah manage, and people from Charleston Community Church gave Evan & Terah both toys for us to bring, and money to buy new toys. Alice and I added to that amount and all together we were able to buy about $700 worth of new toys which were added to the hundreds of nice toys which were donated. On December 11th Alice & I picked up all the toys from the coffee shop and spent the next 5 days sorting and packing toys into large boxes and began packing the truck.

    Evan and Terah finished their finals on Tuesday December 17th. On Wednesday morning the 18th they were driven to the airport at Indianapolis by Terah’s dad.  They arrived in Monter- rey that afternoon and called us to let us know that they made it. Andrea + Humberto's first church Almost immediately, the Barnetts had them visit- ing some of the church es and soup kitchens they sponsored.  This one, pastored by Andrea & Humberto, was having an outdoor Christmas party when they arrived.


  Another church they visited brought12 families - 12 kids per family out in no uncertain terms the difficulties faced by many of the people the Barnetts are working with. You see, in this church there are 12 families, each with 12 kids, and in each in- stance the children's fathers had left for the United States, not re- turned, and needless to say, they provide no support for them!  Yet, as you can see by the expressions on their faces, these kids have the joy of the Lord.

    Our last day of school was on the 20th and we headed south on Saturday the 21st.  We took our time driving and arrived in Laredo the afternoon of the 23rd. After I purchased Mexican auto insurance and changed some U.S. currency for Pesos, we had a nice dinner and went to bed around 9:00 PM because I wanted to get an early start the next day.

    We left Laredo at 6:00 AM on Christmas Eve in order to allow plenty of time crossing the border. While I could not describe this experience as a major problem, it was definitely interesting.
If we had received a green light after crossing the bridge into Mexico we could have proceeded directly down the hill to the immigration and auto registration area. However, that was not to be. The customs inspector who waved me over to the inspection area indicated that I needed to open the back of the truck. I explained in broken Spanish that I did not speak Spanish. Safe journey completed After reading the letter I had written, (and translated via a web translator) which ex- plained that all the toys had been donated and were to be given away to the children at the soup kitchens, the cus- toms officials – there were now five who had gathered around the truck – decided that we could be on our way. We then got our visa, paid our vehicle bond, and found the toll road and headed south to the Barnett’s where we arrived about 9:30 AM.

    Here is our truck parked in front of the Barnett's, and the second picture is of Terah on the roof of their home with the mountains of Monterrey in the background.
 
Barnett's Home Up On The Roof

  





    After settling in, and talking to Evan & Terah about what they had been doing the last few days, we all drove in to Monterrey and did some shopping at Walmart. Wal Mart in Monterrey While we were there Evan began talking to a younger boy outside the door. He said he was hungry, so Evan took him inside and bought him some food. That's Evan, 3rd from the left. We found some huge ornaments, some fruit place- mats for Jeremy & Ellen and blankets which I brought back to my school staff for Christmas presents. Altogether we bought about 28 blankets. Since the truck was going to be empty on our way home, we would have enough room.

    Christmas Visitors That evening some of the neighborhood kids began dropping by the Barnetts in order to get a bag of candy and nuts. Apparently they have been doing this for years in their neighborhood, and for many of the kids it has be- come a tradition for them. Here Terah is talking with one of the children as she is leaving.

       Christmas Dinner On Christmas day Glenda prepared a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings. (from left to right: Alice, Fred, Gil, Terah, Evan & Glenda, who is holding Cocco) We then spent a good part of the day unload- ing the truck, and then dividing all the toys into 9 groups for the differ- ent soup kitchens. We had also been able to bring along some really nice clothes. One of the things that I insisted upon was that we were not going to bring any junk down with us. Too often missionaries get stuck with the worst hand me downs, and I wanted to make sure that we had no part in that type of program.