Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Perfect Harmony

We've all met people of whom we think, "His name sure suits him," or "Why do I always want to call her Cindy?--She just LOOKS like a Cindy, not a Sandra, to me." Harmony is one of those people of whom I think, "Yep, she IS her name. She adds a bit of depth--a bit of resonance--a bit of harmony with her presence. I know that others think the same. After the introductions were complete during a small group gathering, someone quipped (in Spanish, of course),"I am the melody, you are the harmony." Hardly batting an eye, and not even waiting for the translation, Harmony mumbled, "...In EVERY language." Obviously, folks from India, to Hong Kong, to Mexico agree that Harmony 'resonates' her name.

Our ten days together went by too quickly, but each day was a blessing for us. We didn't do anything monumental, Harmony simply walked with us as we went about the work God has given our hands to do. Of course, our biggest, and most important ministry is caring for a very special 10 year old. So, Harmony was right in her element with that task. She and Logan had a great time together. In fact, after leaving them alone one night while Bern and I went visiting, we learned a few days later just how much fun they had. There must have been a "tight-lip" pact between the two of them; however, the sordid details are just now slowly leaking out: a trip to the local store for chips and munchies, a serious, winner-takes-all Monopoly game (rumor is: Harmony won!), staying up to all hours of the night!!! Isn't it great when others make lasting memories for our children?! Logan had a wonderful time.

Caring for Loggie means caring for all his neighbourhood buddies. Since we returned from our summer trip to Canada, the boys have been complaining about being bored. With Harmony's athletic skills, love for children and endless energy, we decided it would be a real treat to have a play day in the park. Logan spread the word, we gathered the Youth from La Comunidad de Cristo, and Harmony planned the games. Everyone had so much fun that plans were underway to do it again, but for the kids, it wouldn't be soon enough. They would have loved to have kept Harmony playing all day, every day! She was a trooper, even in the heat.

We spent time with the youth at Miramar.

Needless to say, they LOVED Harmony

We visited our precious friends at La Casa Del Anciano.

Harmony received some sweet kisses!

Harmony went out on the town with Angeles.

My personal favourite: We went around hugging strangers.
We showed the youth a video of the "hug campaign" and asked them how they would like to do that. To my surprise, they were MORE than eager to take on the challenge. So we made our signs and went to the local grocercy store. The pictures say it all:

And finally, Harmony got a taste of Mexican-style worship. Where's Harmany?

Thank you, Harmony, for blessing us and those that we love here in Mexico. Come back soon!

Until next blog,
Alicia for the Krogsgaards

PS. I literally spend HOURS trying to this blog set up. And as you see, the spacing is NEVER what is the preview shows it to be. I find it a very difficult and slow process to add pictures. I got many comments that the slide show from the last blog did not embed properly so no one, as far as we know, was able to see the pictures from our summer. I'm DONE with blogspot. I am now accepting ANY imput as to which blog site you find user-friendly, especially for posting pictures. Thanks for suggestions. Good-bye, Blogspot!

Friday, August 5, 2011


(Click, Click, Click) "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. (fading) There's no place like home.

Okay, so I probably would not have chosen red glittery shoes...perhaps a cool hue of blue-sans the sparkle. Oh, how I envy that little piggy-tailed gal--What a great way to travel!! Sure, she endured trials along her way, but the modern day travel (20 hours in the truck over two days) is a tad slower (not to mention beastly on the back) than the clicking of the heels. (On second thought, the air flight during the tornado may NOT have been the best way to travel!)
And what about Dot's concept of home? Though I've not spent much time in Kansas, my elementary school geographical studies did not entice me to sell the farm and move "out west". (Mind you, that doesn't say much coming from a small-town, Alabama girl.) However, Dorothy knew where home was, and longed for the people and comfort of that home. I, on the other hand, am pulled three ways. More than anything, I long for the home that Jesus has prepared for me. You know the one--many roomed-mansion and streets of gold, no sorrow, no tears, no more longing for "home". But while I walk the paths of this life, I'm pulled between two "HOMES"--the place where our twins and other family live out their lives and the place where God has given us purpose and fulfilment through our ministry. Kansas may not have been much, but at least Dorothy knew it was "HOME".

I'm so glad we had three weeks at HOME in Canada with our kids and other family and friends, but it's great to be HOME again in Mexico. My heart stretches from the top of North America to the bottom. As we travel, I am reminded that the greatest blessing of that "where is home" tension is the many relationships that have been formed from place to place over the years. Thank you to the many who helped create lasting memories during our 2011 summer furlough--those who provided beds, meals, parties, BBQs, gifts, and gatherings through which to share our Mexico ministry. Those thanks extend to our loved ones in the "HOMES" to which we travelled: Lazaro Cardenas, San Antonio, Regina, Kenosee Lake, Dauphin, and Saskatoon. Please know that you have a "HOME" here in Mexico--Mi casa es tu casa! Enjoy the slideshow of memories.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Too Much, Too Fast

We made about fifteen Let's Start Talking summer project trips before we moved to Mexico in 2008. One of the most difficult tasks in returning to Canada was deciding how to respond when people asked,"How was your six weeks in _________ (fill in the country)?" LST training taught us to capsulize the summer in a 15-20 second answer. How do you sum up 6 weeks into 20 seconds? That's a bit of my challenge as I sit at my computer and read over the last blog. I wrote it AGES ago. So much has happened since then. Where do I start? How do I summarize all the wonderful, sad, exciting, heart-wrenching, and God-orchestrated things that have happened in our lives in the last six weeks? (I don't think I'll get it down to 20 seconds!)...

Logan and I visited my sister in Alabama for two weeks. It was a bitter-sweet experience. Not having seen Bonnie and her family for three years, it was a joy to reacquaint myself with my nephews. Matthew, Stephen and Seth are growing into fine (and EXTREMELY handsome) young men. I'm especially proud of the two older boys who are beginning to make their way in a big, big world. Seth is no longer a little boy, but a tall fourteen year old. Of course, it was wonderful visiting with Bonnie and Tim. My niece lives in Philadelphia, so I missed not being with her and her sweet Gabe and Abigail. The bittersweet part was the sadness in not heading straight to 602 Roxbury Rd. where my mother lived. It was the first time being back in Dothan without having the "old homestead" as my home base. Everywhere I went triggered memories of past times with my sweet mama. I realized "home" just isn't "home" anymore without Mother. But, between the times of reminiscing, I enjoyed folks from the Westgate Church who have been our loyal friends and supporters for years. Thanks, Joe and Gail Clements, for a lovely meal and visit in your home. Logan loved playing in the pool with Dr. Joe! I loved Miss Gail's southern cooking!! Logan even got to take in three days of Westgate's VBS. We also enjoyed two family reunions. My cousin, Beverly Dowdey, organized an impromptu Chambers reunion. I got to see cousins I haven't seen in decades, and got to meet others that I had only heard about. The Dowdey's really know how to "do" a party. We had T-bone steaks (which wouldn't even fit on our plates) that could be cut with our forks!! Hats off to chef John! The dessert prize goes to the best banana pudding I've EVER eaten. (It's a guarded Chambers family secret recipe, so I'm proud to now have in my possession one of the few copies!!!--Thanks, Kelly!) Entertainment-wise, Logan especially enjoyed Mr. John's collection of antique pinball and arcade machines (all in working order, mind you!) Logan won "big-time" on the slot machine. After a few days of being spoiled at the Dowdeys with old fashion root beer, a closet full of candy, the pool, the snow cone and popcorn machines, big screen TV, Wii, Konect, and three freezers full of Blue Bell ice cream, who needs Disney World!!!! We basked in the love with which my cousin, Beverly, lavished upon us.

The next week-end, Bonnie had organized the Arnold reunion. We gathered at Lake Eufala, which holds many memories of summer camping, boating and skiing from my childhood. I was able to connect with my one remaining uncle (Dorsey) and aunt (Betty), as well as several cousins and their families. Logan, along with several family members, celebrated birthdays in June, so we enjoyed birthday cake together. A highlight was meeting my cousin, Hal, and his wife, Paula in a nearby town and sharing in a lovely southern-cooked meal at Hugg'n Molly's. Fried pickles anyone?

At the beginning and ending of our trip, we were able to visit with some dear friends. In Guadalajara we were housed and shuttled to/from the bus station and airport by Tim and Kim Rush. Being with them and their kids is ALWAYS good for me. They are on my list of very favourite folks! It was a bonus to spend time with Jordan Pointon, our team mates' son who just moved to Guadalajara as an AIMer. Tears were ever present when Logan had to say good-bye all too soon.

During an overnight lay-over in Atlanta, we took advantage of renting a car and traveling an hour to visit our dear friend, Esther, who just moved from Lazaro to right outside Atlanta. The evening hours ticked by quickly, but we had a great visit and saw that she is doing great in her adjustment from Mexican life to the "American Dream". It was interesting hearing her perspective of that "dream". I look forward to welcoming her back to Mexico after she completes her year in the States.

As always, it's good to get back home where our family has meaning and purpose. I realized how much I missed my life, friends and family here in Mexico. People were so good to Bernard while we were gone: inviting him over for meals, passing by to visit him at home,and joining him in fellowship at Memaw's Manor. We have a wonderful life full of rich relationships. That was demonstrated fully when my dear friend, Rosy, orchestrated a full-blown Surprise Mexican Fiesta for Logan's 10th birthday. Between the church, our friends, and folks from our community, eighty plus kids and parents gathered to shout "SOPRESA" to Logan when he, unsuspectingly, walked through the church building doors last Tuesday evening. His expression was priceless. He could hardly believe it was all for him. Through the welcoming of his guests, the games, the pozole, the FOUR pinatas, the face in the cake 'mordita', and the gift opening, Logan showed his graciousness and appreciation with hugs and thank yous. The six hours of partying was a display of how blessed and privileged we are to be chosen to serve in Lazaro Cardenas. It was a good lesson to me in giving those whom I have come to serve, the opportunity to serve my family and me--very humbling, indeed. I have come to bless, but I find that I am many times more blessed. More pictures of the fiesta can be viewed from my Facebook page.

Until the next blog,

Alicia, for the Krogsgaards

Thursday, May 5, 2011

YoungFriends Come and Go

A highlight of our work here in Lazaro Cardenas is welcoming various groups to walk with us for a week. One of our favourite groups is the YoungFriends from the Let's Start Talking Ministry. Andrea Muirhead and Deanna Cook brought seven high school teens from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada while Kim Lambert brought a friend and their sons from California. The teams melded together right away as if they had trained the whole year together. The week began with Sunday worship and a pizza lunch with the youth from La Comunidad de Cristo, followed by the information meeting of those who wished to participate in the English practice during the week. Monday morning had the YoungFriends playing in the park near our house, getting to know many of Logan's friends, neighbours and school mates. The team organized basketball, soccer and dodge ball matches. The neighbourhood kids didn't quite know what to think about the YoungFriends, but it didn't take long before they all joined in and had a great time every morning. Afterwards, one of our neighbours cooked lunch for the team--good Mexican cooking! The afternoon was dedicated to the English practice in conversation groups. The three groups were made up of 14-16 youth (and some of Logan's friends from the park), including the youth from the team. The team led the youth in meaningful conversations after reading various passages from the book of Luke. Because few of the youth from Lazaro speak a high level of English, several of the church youth, Logan, and participants from last year translated. It was during this time each day that the Mexican, US, and Canadian youth developed close friendships. After a short rest, the YoungFriends returned to the building for an evening of fun and games where 50-80 youth laughed, played and practiced English.

Because the team works and plays hard all week at a vigorous schedule, we plan one day to take them to the ocean and show them various sites around our city. It was so fun watching some of the prairie kids see and swim in the ocean for the first time. They enjoyed some boogie boarding and eating seafood under the palapa of a local enramada on the beach. They were refreshed and renewed to face their last day of marathon English groups, fun and games, and the sad good-byes. I marvel that friendships grow so close in so short a time. The YoungFriends go home changed because of their experience. The Mexican youth lament over the departure of their new best friends.

We thank the YoungFriends for spending their vacations in service to the youth of Lazaro Cardenas. We appreciate the adults who trained and led the group, as well as the supports who made the mission week financially possible. We admire the parents who allowed their teens to travel to and work in Lazaro Cardenas, in spite of the negative media portrayals of this area of the world. Most of all we continue to be in awe of our God who orchestrated all the efforts to bring together the Mexican, Canadian, and US youth. His name was glorified; His reputation was enhanced. Please pray that our follow-up English classes and Youth Group activities will be successful in retaining many of our week's participants. Last night at Youth Group, it was decided that the YoungFriends should not be a yearly activity, rather an activity every three months!! Some have even decided that they are heading to Canada "wetback" to get to their dear friends in Regina. I commented that rather than swim, they would have to skate or ski because the rivers haven't yet melted! haha Thanks, YoungFriends, for sharing yourselves with us here in Lazaro Cardenas!

Other news, here on the home front, includes the announcement that we have a new family member in La Comunidad de Cristo. Hector and Olga first met Ivan and Stef at Olga's sushi restaurant. Nurturing that friendship over many plates of sushi, Hector and Olga began worshipping with us. After many group and personal Bible studies, Hector made the decision to put his life under the authority of Jesus. It was a day of celebration! Our prayer is that he and Olga will continue to grow in the ways of their Master.

Until the next blog,

Alicia for the Krogsgaards