The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Truckin' along....

Good afternoon friends!

Things here south of the border continue on at breakneck speed. Well....actually these last couple of weeks have been somewhat quieter than July and August. :) So what have we been up to????

* Children's home: We've actually not been there as much as the months prior due to all the teams coming and going and some changes they've been going through. There are new directors serving and this week they have more kids from the Juarez and La Junta children's homes. They also have some more help for the time being. Alan is working on a few 'here and there' type projects but there isn't anything MAJOR for him at this time.

* Church - There were 2 teams in and out through the end of July/1st part of August and that was pretty darn cool for all of our family. It was pretty funny with some of the ladies in our church here in Madera too. We had our tongues and bodies moving in so many languages and directions I was gettin' a bit mixed up at times. I'm so glad people treat me with grace...

Alan has been sheet rocking like crazy and is practically done. There is one other room in the church to be done but that will be up in the air for a while. It's a storage place for the time being and that takes some logistics. For now - he'll do the taping and mudding to keep plugging along.

* Life in general -
The kids and I are back to school. The locals have gone back too so things are much quieter during the morning hours. Whew! It seemed for several months I've had the 15 and under set at my gate yelling for my kids starting at about 9am. Homeschooling doesn't translate so they just kept yelling. We're getting more done now. :)

Weather: I think the rainy season is about past. And when I say rain - I mean RAIN. This picture is outside our front door at about 2pm. "When it rains, it pours...." and yes, that is the road... Why do I think the rainy season is over with pictures like that? Well, little signs are about. The flies are gone. This afternoon I still have laundry on my line blowing and hopefully drying in the sun and a slight breeze. And it's practically September. The season started in June and it was a doozy. Except for the spanish, if I look at the hills, I think I'm in Ireland.

Hmm...the last few weeks have seen two trips to the border. Road trips are a beautiful fantasy but something I personally dread. Seven hours in a small and confined space. Add in Mexican roads and you have an adventure no matter what way you cut it. We blogged earlier about the OBNOXIOUSLY long wait we had last time so this time we were smarter. Off hours are a must.

Why two trips??? The main reason is that Alan will cease to be a legal driver soon. :) Had to get his driver's license and this is a complicated, paperwork effort. BUT we did get it. Then realized that they don't give them out right then and there. They are mailed a week to 10 days later. We knew we weren't going to wait around for 10 days. Hmmm....since we like to kill lots of birds with one stone we called Alan's parents in Colorado to see if they could come down and see us and the kids for a couple of days. They made the road trip and we were able to catch up. It's been a couple of years since we've seen them so they hardly recognized the kids. Crossing the border isn't really an option for them so this worked out really well. And, we got Alan's license right before we left! So nice to still be legal....

One thing that we hadn't mentioned in the earlier post is that we've had a bit of trouble off and on with the truck. Now, for those of you who don't know what we drive see the main title picture. This truck has been it's OWN ministry down here. There has been no end to the ways that we've used it. For hauling things, kids, people, equipment, animals, supplies for the children's homes, garbage runs, towing - you name it and Alan has probably done it with the truck.

I remember when we were looking for a vehicle to move down here with (the mini van just wasn't going to cut it...) and it seemed so impossible for us to find what we were looking for without spending a fortune. 4x4, crew cab (5 people and a hubby who is 6'4"), stick shift (because those are way more interesting to drive), long bed, good condition, a canopy, diesel, and dual tanks. We prayed about it for a while and literally were handed it on a beautiful platter. $5000 has NEVER been such a good investment. We are VERY thankful for our vehicle.

But, you can't live and work down here and not do some wild things to your vehicle mechanically speaking. The roads are really hard to describe - better to just experience them. :) I usually feel shaken and stirred after a trip across town. Alan's good about doing the general maintenence and working at keeping it in good order but sometimes more major things come up. Most recently it was the power brakes. Hmmm....difficult thing to be without. So - he had the truck in with a local guy and he was able to find a used part and put it back together again. Then yesterday the cutting out that's been happening off and on for a few months was really b.a.d. Off he went to the parts store and today has given the truck a bit of TLC (replaced the fuel filter). Next, it will be something else but hopefully we're good for a bit. :)

Here we have it; here we share it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Had we known better, we'd have brought a good book ...

Here we would like to share with you the tips we learn living here, that would make life easier, were you all to live here too. This weeks tip is that half the population of Mexico tries to enter the US on Sunday nights, and that arriving at the border one hour before it closes, while usually plenty of time, on Sunday nights is such insufficient time as to be comic.

The border crossing at Santa Teresa closes at 10 pm. Every other time we have arrived there, the crossing has taken, at most, ten minutes. Which is great - Santa Teresa is kind of out in the middle of nowhere; there's nothing else to do there but cross the border.

We arrived at Santa Teresa last Sunday night on our way to Las Cruces. We've driven to the US before in the afternoon, and arrived at Santa Teresa at 8 or 8:30 and had no problems. This time, however, we arrived at about 8:45 and found a line waiting to cross literally a mile long. Had we known then what we know now, had our wisdom at that point been greater than it was, we would have just turned around when we arrived and started the hour-long trip into Juarez. But, lacking wisdom, we decided to stick it out. The line could move fairly fast, after all. And it was peaceful and quiet; there were a few people walking up and down the line selling paintings and refreshments, but all in all things were quite tranquil, and the kids were soon asleep.

An hour later, when the border closed amidst flashing lights and much fanfare a quarter mile ahead of us, we started the hour-long drive into Juarez. Once we arrived in downtown Juarez, we started the hour-and-a-half wait in traffic there waiting to cross the border. This was much more entertaining than Santa Teresa, as we now could watch the police with machine guns shaking down the troublemakers outside the clubs, and other such jewels as a city such as Juarez has to offer at midnight. We finally arrived at Las Cruces at 1:30 am.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Foodie adventures....

I've known that I've had more interesting things to post but you know, some days the days end and everything goes into some black hole in my memory only to be jogged by a weird event.

So this event - I was browsing through the pictures on the camera card checking for pictures of the visiting teams that were here, the campana that Alan worked at, and the VBS programs that we did. Hmmmm.....seems that I'm STILL just as bad about taking pictures as I was when my children were babies. BUT, every cloud has a silver lining and I found pictures of SOME thing that I took thinking about a blog update. So........without further ado....

Grocery shopping is an event here. I will admit I now see the adventure and sometimes even pleasure of shopping for our food whereas before - well, to put it mildly it was a pain. There are about 120 little grocery stores you could shop including the neighborhood tiendas but really only about 4 'big' stores. (Each one of these 'big' stores would've fit in the downstairs of my house back in WA just to give you an idea of the size I'm talking about.)

Here is a picture of my recent score - one flea market, one regular grocery store, and another because the other one didn't have 'it'. $331.41 - pesos that is. :) About $30 American. This trip only took about 1/2 a day all told.

You shop for your fruit and veggies in one section, then move on to the meat department. Here's where you get your cuts of meat, cheeses, and eggs if you'd like. Sometimes the butter is in there but not always. Then you can go to the aisles in said store to get basics like flour, beans, rice, ect....Honestly, for those items we go to a different store. Isstee stocks more of your dry goods type things. Laundry soap, cat food, dried beans, sugars, cereals and such.

The other thing that has taken me a while to get used to is the fact that sometimes you see it, sometimes you don't. It's a bit like Costco. I know you know what I mean when I say that. This is why there are times when our family walks out of Isstee with 6 boxes of Cheerios. We KNOW they won't been there again for 4 months. Yes, we're weird, and everyone knows it.

I am so thankful though that now we live within walking distance to one of those main stores. So every couple of days the girls and I will grab my canvas Sonlight book (now grocery) bags and hand in hand walk to the store. We do eat 99% Mexican so we are right at home handling the veggies, commenting on the quality, and queing up to get things weighed and priced. I now can even yell out what cuts of meat or cheese I want over the heads of those in front of me and they understand me. :) I still prefere to shop when it's not rush hour though. (9am- 12pm or 3pm-4pm)

WHY do we shop every couple of days???? Well.........this is our fridge. Yep, that bitty thing. It was actually given to us by our good friends in Las Cruces who have taught us the skill of dumpster diving. Yes, you heard me. They do it at the end of each semester by the college and egads....lots of stuff. They had two fridges when we were up there last year and gave us our pick. It works really well. Alan built the underneath table for me and now that we live where we're not invested with mice, I can store some of my veggies and non-perishables in it. I don't throw out much food anymore I'll say that! :) Smaller is working beautifully for us!
So - I don't actually hate grocery shopping anymore. We talk about it as an adventure. Practice, practice, practice. :) Off to eat our chicken nuggets. Alan just couldn't resist them in the meat counter.

Honduras Trip and Expenses

As our regular readers will recall, we brought up a few months ago the idea of moving to Honduras to help some friends who work as missionaries there. The Sowers family has been working in Honduras for 7 years now with an organization called Missionary Ventures International. Their focus there is on working with and equipping local pastors in one of the poorest areas of the world to better reach and serve the people in their villages; they do this via a variety of means, including founding and constructing a bible training center, supporting an existing feeding center and orphanage, providing assistance and support for over 200 pastors in rural areas of western Honduras, providing logistics and delivery of donated supplies and hosting short-term mission teams. The Sowers' website can be seen at

The response to our initial proposal (April 15th & 23rd) was quite positive, and with the current status of the children’s home in Madera we feel the time has come for us to move forward with plans to join the Sowers family and their work in Honduras. As God provides the resources, we are planning to leave Madera sometime in September. After having a few odds and ends of upkeep done on the truck, we plan to drive to Honduras, visiting other missionary acquaintances in Oaxaca and Toluca as we drive south through Mexico and Guatemala. In similar fashion to our original trip from Washington State to Madera, we plan to take with us what we can fit into the back of our truck and into a trailer. We expect to be on the road for the better part of a couple of weeks, and also hope to see some incredible country along the way. Upon our arrival in Honduras we will find a house to rent and furnish it with whatever needed items are not already there or brought with us.

As can be imagined, such a move is not cheap, and we are writing this update both to keep our friends and supporters involved and up-to-date in our plans, and also to ask that you prayerfully consider supporting us in this move. On the way down we will have truck permits and visas to buy, new insurance, fuel and lodging expenses and possible importation taxes; the additional expenses related to the move itself could run a couple thousand dollars. Once in Honduras, we anticipate our monthly expenses to be somewhat more than they currently are, as travel back to the US will be more complicated and more expensive, and we realize that times are hard and extra money is hard to come by these days for a lot of people. We also know that if God wants this project to happen, He has the resources and He will provide. Support and contributions are tax deductible and can be sent to Hockinson Community Church, 15918 NE 182nd Ave, Brush Prairie, WA 98606 with a note or memo saying it’s for us.

We are looking forward with anticipation to what the near future has in store, and look forward to sharing our experiences with you all. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters who have walked with us over the past three years. Your support and donations teach us humility and remind us anew each month that all we have and all we are comes from Him, and in ourselves we are nothing.

- Alan & Faith and the Hayes Zoo