After two and a half months of embracing distractions I finally listened to my own advice that I gave when I sent around an e-mail quoting a tweet from Bill MItchell that said "With most things in life the dreading is easier than the doing". Also saw a quote from some author that said the easiest thing in the world is to not write. So here it is January 10, 2017. Daniel Ortega's inaguration is on eleven channels on the TV in our room and Obama's farewell address is on a couple of others so I will take a couple hours to block out pages for the last two and a half months.
Finally, in March 2017, I got around to filling in the blanks below.
November SOWER Project (October 31 - November 17)
This month we find ourselves back at WOTC (Way of the Cross). We are the only SOWER couple here this month so follow the staff lead and attend the staff chapels and work staff hours, including somewhat casual Fridays (depends what is going on. Staff always works Fridays, but SOWERS don’t typically work Fridays). Somewhere during the month the SOA (SOWERS on Assignment) couple arrived and we operated in independent orbits doing whatever Ben, the WOTC director, assigned us. I mostly worked with Byron, a WOTC staffer and Juanita mostly works with Martha, another staffer.
All our efforts are directed to preparations for upcoming WOTC events, the Celebrate Jesus Festival in Brownsville in November, The Big Feed in Matamoros in December and Medfest in Managua, Nicaragua in January.
The Celebrate Jesus Festival is a multi church outreach organized by Way of the Cross. They provide the space and most of the supplies and advertising for over a hundred booths manned by various churches and outreach organizations. They also provide boxes of grocery items to be given away to attendees and items that are prizes in free raffles held throughout the day-long event held on a Saturday in November. This year is the third year the event has been held in a large field next to the flea market in Brownsville, Texas. Prior to that it was held for two or three years at the stock grounds in Mercedes, Texas. Next year they will search for a new venue further up the valley.
Juanita worked helping fill boxes and gift bags and on the day of the event helped with registration of the churches manning the booths and music stages. I helped lay out the field with Byron and helped a little with draining the swamp the day of the event when there was overnight rain which puddled in a few places. On the day of the event I handed out a quantity of curved illusion tracts in Spanish and English. Mostly Spanish.
WOTC erects large circus style tents on the grounds. They house the boxes of groceries and all the gift items to be given out at the various booths. Once all this stuff shows up on the grounds somebody stays there overnight as security. Byron and I picked up the fifth wheel trailer to be used to house security. It was in a field west of Raymondville. After delivering it to the WOTC training center we noticed that the temporary permit didn’t take effect until later that day. Oops. Good thing we were not stopped. Also, the running lights were only kind of working and the brake/turn signal lights were working only on one side. Once it was parked at WOTC we worked on fixing the lights and rat chewed wiring and did some caulking of the roof, checked out the dump valves and installed an RV toilet. Some previous owner had installed a regular residential flush toilet. At five gallons a flush that would fill the black waste tank in six to eight flushes. An RV toilet uses about a quart or so. Good for twenty times the flushes. A few days before the event we got another permit and checked it carefully for time and date and delivered the trailer to the field and set it up.
Byron and I worked on the fountain at the Cross area of the training center. The base is an old stock tank which has rusted through in many places and was missing about a third of the steel bottom. We repaired it with layers of long strand fiberglass body filler. This was skillful use of indigenous materials as an auto parts store chain had donated a couple of pallets of body filler and other body work supplies to WOTC. I also used some of the long strand and regular body filler to fix an old cast iron pipe elbow at the warehouse but that just moved the problem downstream and was then deemed too big a job to take on.
It was nice to be back in the Valley again and we did a bit of exploring old haunts, including going to South Padre Island for a drive to the end of the road and a walk across the sand dunes to walk on the beach. There we encountered a group on horse back from the nearby zip line trail ride tourist attraction.
My faithful Virgin Mobile flip phone decided it was no longer accepting text messages and never could and still didn’t accept picture files embedded in text messages. On line I could see where the texts had arrived and I had been charged for them, but they never got to any point where I could read them. After wasting a Saturday waiting for somebody to text me a phone number I became frustrated. I ordered a cheap Huawei VM Sprint network compatible smart phone from Amazon along with a case and screen protector sheets. When they arrived I proceeded through the activation procedure until I got to the message that the phone would not be compatible with my existing plan of $0.18 / minute for talk and text and they would gobble up my $200 credit and start charging a monthly fee whether I used the phone or not and whether we were in the country or not. I baulked and did more research. I can buy and activate a new flip phone for talk and text but no smart phones as long as I am on a plan they no longer offer.
If anybody wants an unused Huawei smart phone compatible with the Sprint network let me know. I also found that if you take the battery out of a flip phone for a couple of minutes and then power it back up, it will, in this case, anyway, start accepting text messages. Isn’t that precious?
Sunbelt Van Dwelling
Spotted this van in a Valero parking lot. It had a platform on the front bumper with a Honda generator and a window style air conditioning unit mounted in the back window. All the comforts of home!