Must, post, this, before, March…

(the following is the text the update letter we will be sending out in the next couple of days.  But since I’m lazy I thought I’d just copy/ paste it here.  So those of you who get our update letter in your email and then think that it sounds vaguely familiar; you’re right.)

To all of our friends and family,

We apologize that we didn’t send an “official” update on what our family had been doing in January.  It’s not that we didn’t do anything fantastic or memorable; I’d have to say that it was just the grind of life catching up with us.  For all of you that send out your annual Christmas letter (all of whom we greatly admire since every time we try to do it, it ends up being more of a “post-Valentine/pre-Easter” update) you know how hard it is to write down (wait, first you have to REMEMBER) all the major events for each family member and then add a couple of pictures and then get it in the (e)mail.

Here’s a quick synopsis of what we’ve been doing and what our plans are for our last 10 WEEKS in Tlaxiaco.  Yup, only 10 weeks left.  Doesn’t seem like much time, does it?  In order of shortest to tallest this time:

Katria – Our littlest (and most of the time loudest) one is about to turn two in March.  Can you believe it has already been two years since God blessed all of us with her?  Her language skills are growing rapidly and she is constantly using full sentences.  Sometimes people other than her parents and siblings understand her!  Katria still loves to dance and whenever Ryan has the computer on (which is pretty much always) she runs up and announces “song” which is her way of telling Ryan to turn on a little something that she can dance to.  Finally, Katria has been attending a preschool put on by one of the base moms twice a week.

Jared – The 2nd man of the house seems to be constantly dirty.  It’s not that we don’t wash him often; it’s just that he spends so much time playing around the base.  Football, soccer, riding scooters, playing on the rope swing, etc all add together to make it difficult to tell where his tan stops and the dirt starts.  But he is having a lot of fun!  Jared is looking forward to a trip at the end of April with his soccer team (and Dad who wasn’t going to miss this!) to Pachuca, Mexico which is where his favourite team plays.  How many Canadian kids get to go to a Mexican pro league soccer game in their lifetime?  The trip also includes an autograph session with the team, a tour of various facilities and lots of blank stares as Ryan tries to understand the other parents and kids on the trip.

Chelsey – Our oldest has started piano lessons and is continuing to learn how to read music.  Her Spanish language skills are impressive; most of the time Michelle does not need to help her with her homework!  Chelsey has a lot of friends on base and like Jared there are many hours where we don’t see her.  But there are lots of times where she comes home, curls up with a good book and spends an hour reading.  In the recent GFM talent show Chelsey sang “Rey de reyes” (King of Kings) and invented her own dance to go with it.  It was very well done and of course we were quite proud of her.

Michelle – A few weeks ago some of the local Christian youth approached a friend of ours and asked him to lead a bible study focused on evangelism.  Michelle has been fortunate to become involved in the leadership of this group too.  She says she is enjoying it and claims that every once in a while the class actually understands her!  Michelle has also started to practice with some of the other students in a worship band in preparation for the spring missions trips GFM will be hosting.  Every Tuesday Michelle also gets to help out with a cooking class for the local ladies.  Combine all of this with two 40 minute round trip walks to the kid’s school and taking care of a two year old and you can see she is quite busy!

Ryan – Much of the same activities for Ryan in the last couple of months.  Of course, there are many books being read (at last count he has read 25 books since September with about 5 more to go).  In his administration work, Ryan has installed, configured and launched a new software package which allows GFM much more flexibility and time when communicating with its supporters.  The next project is a total redesign/ recreation of the GFM website.  In March Ryan will also go on at least two trips to local villages to do community development (eg. Well digging).  April will be spent on the website and also attempting to improve his Spanish skills.

Our prayer needs at this time are simple.  First, we want to praise God for how much safety and health He has given our family.  Most of us battled off a cold in the last month, but its impact was quite minimal.  Next, please pray for protection from spiritual attack as we continue to draw closer to the Lord and His leading for what we are to do when we get home.  We would also love prayer as we continue to plan and prepare to come home.  We know that there will be plenty of culture shock when we arrive back in Airdrie!
Financially we are doing well, and we thank everyone for their time spent praying about this.  Please continue to pray and give as the Lord directs you.  The flights home for Michelle and Katria have already been purchased and they will arrive back home on May 14.  We believe that we will have enough to pay our living expenses remaining for our last 10 weeks here.  The only uncertainties are the expected unexpected costs (if they come) and the drive home for Ryan, Chelsey and Jared.  We are expecting that the seven day road trip will cost over $1000 due to gas, hotels, food and a little entertainment to keep all three of us from going crazy!  So again, we ask that you please pray about our finances and if God wants you to give a little extra to help.

Finally, since our trip is coming to a close we know that many of you will find a little extra money freed up in your monthly budget as your support pledge has been fulfilled.  We know that God has rewarded you for your faithfulness in giving.  Hopefully you have discovered that the money really wasn’t needed.    Can we suggest that instead of stopping the habit of giving that you have gotten into that you find another person to support?  Your home church may have missionaries in need of support, you may know someone in the mission field as well.  If you don’t know of anyone you could transfer your financial support to, we know many people in the missions field who are struggling to continue due to lower than necessary financial support.  Let us know if you would like to be introduced to some of these people, and we will happily make the connection.  The work they are doing is phenomenal and we know that you would be greatly blessed by supporting them.

Thanks again everyone.  And, if you want to send a care package or letter you are running out of time as it takes a few weeks to get here!

Our address is: CTEN c/o Diks Family, APDO 14, Tlaxiaco Oaxaca, Mexico 69800.

See all of you soon!

Ryan, Michelle, Chelsey, Jared and Katria Diks

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