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Sunday 10/17 ▪ Monday 10/18Tuesday 10/19Wednesday 10/20Thursday 10/21

Day 1: Sunday, 10/17/04

Our trip actually started about 7 pm Friday evening from Hazelwood Christian Church, where we boarded two buses and filled an F-350 and a trailer with our stuff.

Here, as we waited to get underway, Jim Grey put batteries into small electronic devices for all comers. As you can see, we left under cover of night.

The bus ride was very long -- we arrived in Mexico at about 6 am Sunday!  We all tried to sleep as best we could, and some had better luck than others. Let's just say that it's tough to sleep on a school bus seat! It didn't help if your neighbor was sawing serious logs, especially if you forgot earplugs. Also, how close you were to the heaters told whether you roasted or shivered. We also learned that pop cans will explode inside a suitcase if they're stored next to a heater. (Ask Sue Wilkes's sister, Lynn Golden!)

Here are Rob and Sue Wilkes on the bus at a stop somewhere along the way. That's Lynn poking her head in at the right, and Andy Phillips's friend Keith Hann way in the back.

We had plenty of time to get there, so we didn't hurry. We stopped roughly every three hours for fuel and creature comfort. These frequent stops really helped make the trip easier. We could pick up things we forgot, get another soda, answer nature's call, or just take a walk and clear our heads. We saw a lot of truck stops along the way, and we can say with authority that they're all the same -- well, except that some are cleaner than others.

We had to jump-start one of the buses along the way, and somewhere in Texas the driver of the F-350 got a ticket. The journeyman mission trippers among us say that this was pretty uneventful, all things considered.

At right, we've just arrived at Vida Nueva Mission, pretty weary from the trip but glad to be at our destination! The mission is really a spot of beauty, in sharp contrast to the natural scruffy terrain and the low standard of living of the people who live nearby.

We grabbed showers (a real necessity after more than 36 hours on the bus together), put on some clean clothes, and walked to the nearby church building (shown below) for Bible study and worship. Bible study was entirely in Spanish, but even though most of us know little or no Spanish it was still exciting to take part. We followed along as best we could. People were friendly and seemed glad to share with us.

Worship was mostly in Spanish. But we recognized the music of several of the songs, and were pleasantly surprised that they sang some of the verses in English. Also, the message today came from John Sichtings, a minister who preaches at New Hope Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana. The local church's minister, Jair Castillo, interpreted. The photo below shows John at left and Jair at right.


After worship, we had lunch and relaxed the rest of the day. We all set up our temporary homes in the dormitory, making beds and arranging our things. Some people walked the surrounding neighborhood and bought a soda at La Oasis, a nearby mom-and-pop shop. A few of us played cards, some of us set up the kitchen for the week's cooking, and many of us slept so we'd be ready for work Monday morning.