Category Archives: Opinion

Obituary of Cleta Irene Mayfield

Cleta Irene Mayfield, age 66, resident of Ft. Scott, KS, died Saturday, January 19, 2019, at her home.

She was born September 2, 1952, in Ft. Scott, the daughter of Bill and Cleta Norbury Mayfield. Cleta worked as an LPN for Mercy Hospital, Newman Young Clinic, and Dr. McKenna’s office. She loved nursing and caring for people. She later worked as a para-educator for Winfield Scott and Fort Scott Middle School.

Cleta enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, birdwatching and her Diet Coke. Later in life, she did more cooking and baking. If you were a guest in her home, you never left hungry or thirsty. She loved spending time with her family, especially her grandkids who call her “Gigi”.

Survivors include a daughter, Sarah Dell’Antonia Ersland and husband Jake, Lenexa, KS; two grandchildren, Isaac and Faith Ersland; a son Chuck Dell’Antonia and wife Jessica, Pittsburg, KS; a sister, Mary Cullor and husband Jim, Woodland, CA; a brother, Jay Mayfield and wife Mauritta, Richards, MO; a sister-in-law, Shirley Mayfield, Mound City, KS; and her best friend, John Mowrey, Ft. Scott.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, William “Bill” Mayfield and Leroy “Punk” Mayfield; and her parents.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM Thursday, January 24th, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow in Woods Cemetery, Redfield, KS.

The family will receive friends from 5:30 until 7:30 Wednesday evening at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Memorials are suggested to the Cleta Mayfield Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, PO Box 347, 201 S. Main St., Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.

God Provides by Patty LaRoche

We would move to Jupiter, Florida, for a year. Dave would work as the rehabilitation coach for the injured Miami Marlins’ pitchers. We would rent a lovely, furnished, two-bedroom condominium near the ballpark, buy two bikes, swim, play tennis and find a church on fire for Jesus. That was the plan…which wasn’t quite as do-able as it sounded.

Apparently New Yorkers migrate to Jupiter during the winter months, booking their rentals a year in advance. (Who stays behind and shovels Buffalo’s sidewalks is what I want to know.) Unless we spend Dave’s entire paycheck (not to mention, I would need to get a waitressing job), we were out of luck. We were going to have to settle…for Plan B.

Asking for a covered parking spot? Perhaps a shady tree would do.

A washer and dryer in the unit? Laundromats are fun places to witness about Jesus…you know, captive audience and all that.

Furniture? For $1,100 a month, we could rent the “middle” package… the one with cardboard cones supporting the coffee table.

A pool and tennis court? Hahahahaha

Maybe we could buy something small. Like a fixer-upper. And not fixer-upper it.

On one apartment-seeking drive, we saw an older beach home with a “For Rent” sign in its front yard. I immediately called the realtor’s number and was told it had just rented…for $20,000 a month. I started laughing. “Did you say $20,000 a MONTH?”

I know,” he answered. “But it is on the beach, and it has a 100’ pier.”

Is that pier plated with gold?” I asked. Dave told me to hang up.

My husband noticed an “Open House” sign at a trailer park and pulled into its entrance. The owner was a sweet little lady who carried a bottle of Pine Sol around as she proudly showed us her home. At least it would be clean, I told myself. It was furnished, had a carport and a washer and dryer. Never mind there was no pool or tennis court or workout room OR that it wasn’t even for rent, and for $220,000, we could move in at the beginning of February.

One realtor offered us a furnished unit that apparently had been decorated by someone on a very tight budget—like, oh say, $100.00. It did, however, have a pool and a workout room and a tennis court. Oops! Check that. The tennis court was filled with construction materials because each unit was being rebuilt due to water damage from poorly-designed roofs. Ours already had been rebuilt, we were told. This was to be good news. Dave said we had no choice.

Yes, we did. We could jump off a gold-plated pier.

This morning, right before Dave accepted the contract on that unit, I had this crazy idea to phone the church Dave and I attended last Sunday and asked if they knew of anyone who might help us. They did. Her name is Rhonda; she is a church volunteer and also a realtor. She contacted me, I explained our predicament, and the first thing she said was, “May I pray with you?” And pray she did! She called on the name of Jesus and let loose! I was driving at the time, but had our truck had a sunroof, I would have been transported to Heaven. It was glorious!

And guess what! Within 24 hours we were signing the lease on a cozy duplex with not just a single garage but a double one. In our latest email correspondence, I wrote this to Rhonda: “How does God do it? Amazing.” Her response? “RIGHT! He always blows me away. I have been especially on fire since we prayed! Honored to be a witness of His Grace.”

Me too, Rhonda. Me too.

Ephesians 3:20-21– Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Emphasis: mine)

Baptism by Patty LaRoche

When you hear the word “Baptism,” what comes to mind? Infant sprinkle? Immersion? Unimportant? Necessary for salvation? Few Christian topics are more controversial. From the time John the Baptist showed up munching on locusts and honey, the concept of Baptism has been debated, and just as soon as I think I have it figured out, another scripture comes along to show why people disagree.

A few years ago, at our couples’ Bible study, the question of Baptism–as a requisite for entrance into Heaven–came up (not a topic I would recommend for baby believers). One person made the typical defense for it not being necessary: Jesus promised the un-baptized thief hanging on a cross beside him that “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Others claimed that to be a non-issue because the crucifixion was pre-resurrection; it was after Jesus died and rose again that Baptism became mandatory. (If you find that Bible passage, please let me know.)

Ephesians 2:8-9 was read to the group. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Grace, not works. Baptism is not necessary for salvation.

Quickly, that was discounted when a church leader used Acts 2:38 as a defense for Baptism’s necessity: And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Aha! Baptism is necessary for salvation.

Not according to one author who, for example, used the Greek definition of the word “for” in Acts 2:38 as a way of proving Baptism is not required for salvation. (which of course was Greek to me). Another attempted to prove his point by writing about the Negative Inference Fallacy—”Just because Acts 2:38 says ‘repent and be baptized….for the forgiveness of sins…and the gift of the Holy Spirit’ does not mean that if one repents and is not baptized, he will not receive forgiveness of sins or the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

See what I mean? One says “Yea.” Another says “Nay.”

What’s a person to do?

A week after their wedding, Andy and Kristen, our son and (now—hooray!) daughter-in-law, were baptized together in the gulf waters off the coast of Pine Island, Florida. Andy’s brother, Adam, performed the ceremony after sharing a few thoughts about Baptism. First, he said, it is an outward demonstration of participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Second, it symbolizes the commitment Andy and Kristen made at their wedding since, in Scripture, the Bride refers to the Church, and the bridegroom to Jesus. Third, “Marriage” is integral to the purest of relationships, just like Baptism connects us to Jesus Christ: “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Gal. 3:27

Still, the question remains: Is it necessary for salvation?

I don’t know, but I do know that I liked the answer our Bible study leader gave our group about its significance: “Jesus was baptized, and if he is our example, why shouldn’t we?”

No one could disagree with that.

Kayak by Patty LaRoche

As I write this, I am looking out my condo window at the ocean. This morning, all is peaceful. The tide is low, many early morning types are strolling the beach, picking up sea shells or just loosening their joints. The sea looks harmless. Maybe I will go for a swim. After all, this is my last day here. Tomorrow, Dave and I begin our trek home to Kansas. From there we will drive to Florida where he has taken a job for the next 12 months.

But I won’t go for a swim. Not after last night’s phone call from my youngest son, Andy.

First, a little background. He and his brother Jeff take a trip every year, and since Andy is getting married in two weeks, this would be their final one together. They, along with their friend Chris, chose Belize.

According to Andy, mid-afternoon the three rented a kayak to use as a sort of landing pad when they snorkeled. Before long, they realized the current had carried them further from their starting point, so they attempted to head back. No matter how hard they rowed or swam, the shoreline became increasingly distant. For over an hour they tried… to no avail.

Realizing it soon would be dark, Jeff and Andy decided to swim to shore for help. Chris, although a national Rugby player, was not a good swimmer, so he would stay on the kayak and wait for help. After twenty minutes of struggling against the current, my sons realized the futility in their efforts and returned to the kayak. Occasionally they would see a boat in the distance and would yell for help, but no one heard their screams. They prayed. Their fun excursion was turning out to be anything but.

Don’t panic.” “Remain calm.” “We rented this kayak, so someone has to know we haven’t returned and send help.” All great advice, but as night fell, they decided to make one last effort to make it to shore. Jeff threw his arm over the front of the kayak, Chris rowed, and Andy pushed from the end of the kayak, figuring their swim fins would help. They would go as long and as hard as they could…which lasted about fifteen minutes. Suddenly, a wave lifted them up and threw them onto a reef. Their goggles and one of the oars went flying as the kayak tipped, dumping them all onto the hard surface. Jeff’s leg was bleeding badly, and while they were tending to that, they noticed a boat’s light in the distance.

This time, their screams were heard. They were rescued and taken to shore where they were told that no kayak should have been rented that day. The tide was far too dangerous, and just the week before, two men dared the same type of current and never made it back. My sons and their friend had trusted a young man (wanting to make a few dollars) instead of investing a little time into Googling the sea condition for that day.

As a result, what started out looking harmless proved that accomplished athletes have no power compared to the ocean’s undercurrent. I told Andy that I hoped they realized how God had protected them that night. He assured me they did.

Many people I know have found that something “harmless” has led to their downfall. A tiny white lie. A bit of gossip. An angry word. A sneak peek at a porn site. A choice not to forgive. And suddenly, they are in over their heads in sin. They have depended on their own abilities to control those harmless temptations instead of taking the time–and making the effort– to find where their trust should be placed. Psalm 9:10 speaks to that perfect constant: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Just ask Andy, Jeff and Chris.

Christmas 2018 by Patty LaRoche

The following letter, written to Santa and sent to me in an email, probably can tell the story of many young mothers.

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my two children on demand, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground, and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find any more free time in the next 18 years. Here are my Christmas wishes: I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you’re hauling big ticket items this year, I’d like a car with a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone. On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pack. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet making the in-laws’ house seem just like mine. If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch a cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet. Yours Always…Mom

To all of you Moms, Dads and other readers of this column, I hope this Christmas is filled with blessings celebrating Jesus Christ. To Him be all the glory. He is my Lord and Savior. I pray he is yours too.

Bachelor Party by Patty LaRoche

Herding butterflies would have been easier. Jeff, our oldest son, was hosting a bachelor party for his younger brother, Andy, here in Mazatlán, and 29 of Andy’s friends had come to celebrate. Eleven condominiums were rented for four days, a day-long fishing trip was scheduled, as was a golf competition at a spectacular course. Other than that, according to Jeff, the men could do “whatever they wanted.”

My job was to help organize. No problema. I love to organize. I would need spreadsheets for flight schedules, condo roomie preferences, likes or dislikes for shellfish and guacamole, rankings for ocean swimming abilities, number of golf clubs to rent, etc. Jeff kept reminding me that these were not my girlfriends. Many of the guys wouldn’t book their flights until the day before, much less know if they would participate in the scheduled activities until it was time to load the vans. Jeff was right. These definitely were not my girlfriends who book trips months in advance, the same day they start packing.

How did these guys function? How could I pair them up for taxis or book them on the shuttle if I had no idea when they arrived? How many vans did I need, if these guys all operated by the seat of their golf pants? How would I possibly keep track of them all for four days?

My carefree hubby was no help. “Patty, don’t stress about it. You’re not going to change the way these guys operate.” Dave apparently didn’t realize that these 30-48 year olds were free spirits, only three of them spoke any Spanish, and none had ever been to Mazatlán before. I wanted a buddy system, preferably like kindergarten field trips where they’re all roped together.

Jeff questioned my micromanaging, not understanding that, in life, someone has to take care of the details. Right? I was a wreck the entire four days. Five of the guests chose to take the ferry to “find a place” that rented jet skis instead of go fishing. Others wandered off to tour the historic part of Mazatlán. My two nephews went to Mass at the Cathedral, walking two miles to catch a cab because the annual Marathon runners had closed the streets. I had no control!

On the day most of the guys left Mazatlán, Brad was nowhere to be found. Andy finally checked his room and realized his suitcase was gone, so “He probably already left.”

Probably? Probably? Shoot me now!

I can’t help it. I am a Martha. Hear me roar. Luke 10:38-42 was written for me. You probably know the story. Jesus and his amigos were invited to Martha and Mary’s home. Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” Martha, distracted by all of the details involved in being a good hostess, was annoyed that Mary lounged while she labored over a hot stove. (I repeat–Someone has to take care of the details, right?) At her wit’s end, Martha ratted out Mary to Jesus. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Yes! Yes! I get it. I would have loved to have been on a jet ski or riding in a golf cart instead of sitting at home, stewing about the safety of…well, however many men were wherever they were. Surely Jesus empathized and told Mary to be more sensitive, right?

Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed— indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (When I read that, my roar becomes a whimper.)

It wasn’t until Andy’s friends said their good-byes that I realized how much time I had spent fretting. So, when they all shared that they couldn’t wait to come back, I knew what I would do differently once they booked those flights.

I would book my own. To go see my girlfriends…in the United States.

Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Cindy at Palapa by Patty LaRoche

There was an interesting exchange at the Palapa, our poolside gathering spot, the week before Thanksgiving. Six women started the conversation by trying to decide when “Black Friday” was held here in Mazatlán. No one would miss out on the big-bargain, tug-of-war.

It begins today.”

No, it starts next Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.”

That’s when it starts in the United States, not in Mexico.”

Back-and-forth the discussion went, until Cindy, my smart-but-dingy friend, spoke up. “I thought that happened at Easter, not Thanksgiving.”

I couldn’t help myself. (Actually, I could, but I didn’t.) “Well, since one deals with the Pilgrims and one deals with Jesus, there’s really quite a difference.” Everyone started laughing, even Cindy, until she thought about our conversation for a few seconds.

I probably missed that part in our youth group. I think the nuns didn’t like us because we went to public school and just showed up once a week for religion classes. They would rap our knuckles with a ruler when we didn’t pay attention. I got smacked a lot.”

Several chuckles later, Cindy became serious. “I just always get sad on Black Friday.” Surely she wasn’t talking about shopping, so if this sadness was about the day Jesus died, I was touched.

Yea,” she continued, “because that’s when my friends were injured in a terrible car wreck. It was just a couple of days before Easter. I’ll never forget it.”

What in the world? “Actually,” I said, “the Friday before Easter isn’t called Black Friday. It’s called Good Friday, and it’s the day Jesus died.”

Cindy looked at me like I had just fallen off a turkey truck. “Well, what’s so good about that?”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Good grief, Cindy,” I laughed. “I’m surprised you have any knuckles left.”

I love unplanned conversations about Jesus, for that’s where he seems to make the greatest impact. Just mentioning his name reminds people that he is real and a part of my life…which is why I don’t understand Christians who are paralyzed at the thought of including him in their everyday conversations. How many opportunities they miss! (Trust me, I’ve missed more than I can count.)

2 Timothy 4:2 reminds us to be prepared to talk about God, no matter whether the time is favorable or not. After Peter healed a man, he took advantage of the awe-struck crowd by sharing the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. That was not his intent. He had set out that morning to pray in the temple, but then this unexpected opportunity presented itself. Peter could have walked through the throng of people, shaking hands, perhaps signing an autograph or two, but he didn’t. Recognizing a chance to remind people what Jesus had done for them, he began sharing the highlights of what he knew about his Savior.

Granted, Peter’s talk ended with many people turning their lives over to Jesus, and mine ended up in laughter, but I think every mention of Jesus or God counts. After all, you’ve gotta start somewhere, right?

Will and Christina by Patty LaRoche

Maybe you could strain your stuffing.”

The stuffing recipe was new, a five-star dish, loaded with sausage, bacon and mushrooms. The photo-shopped picture—with precisely placed red peppers and browned bread chunks– was my Thanksgiving experiment for this year, the year when I needed to impress.

I knew what had gone wrong. I had become distracted when the recipe called for 4 cups of water, and since I was halving-again the ingredients, six were necessary. But had I already poured in four…or six? How was I to know? The bread had soaked up all of the water, so there was no way to dump it out and remeasure. I stood by my Dutch oven, staring, waiting for the brain cells to engage. Four cups or six cups, that was the question. Unfortunately, that was also the answer. I added two more cups, rationalizing that moist stuffing is better than dry. It isn’t.

That wasn’t the only mistake. Dave and I were half-way to our son’s family’s house for dinner when I realized I had left my salad’s apple/parsley garnish at home. My lovely apple-lemon-cranberry jello dish would be naked, and since my stuffing had required additional baking time, there was no time to turn around and retrieve it, especially since I needed to run by the grocery store to pick up one of those cheater brown gravy mixes because I had only enough turkey drippings to make gravy for two small children. I would supplement and hope no one noticed. In the end, my lack of jello garnish didn’t matter anyway because I got distracted (are you seeing a pattern here?) and forgot to add my lovely apple-lemon-cranberry dish to the buffet spread until after everyone had eaten.

I had wanted my contribution to be perfect. Our son’s lifelong friend, Will, and his wife, Christina, were visiting from New York. Will owns the #1 restaurant in the WORLD, and Christina owns 15 pastry shops scattered across the country. If you watch the television show Master Chef, you will recognize her as one of the judges. But here I was, straining my gourmet turkey stuffing (aka, mush) while Christina noticed my faux gravy mixes and offered to whisk away. It was she who sweetly suggested the stuffing could serve as a fancy gravy for the potatoes that I surprisingly had not ruined, probably thanks to two sticks of butter, one of cream cheese and overkill on half-and-half, facts I would not share, considering Will and Christina eat only healthy food.

In the end, the young couple raved about the meal, finding nothing but positives in my negatives. Here they were, two perfectionists in the food industry, and they were determined to make me feel unembarrassed. Christina even commented on how many mistakes are made in preparing pastries and that it’s how you correct the problems that makes the difference. I have no doubt their upbeat attitude contributes to their restaurant success.

Ephesians 4:29 addresses the way we talk to others: “No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” Let’s face it. We are either an encourager or a discourager. I have been both. As a wife, a parent, a teacher, a committee member. And I can honestly tell you, looking for ways to build someone up is far more effective than tearing them down. Christina modeled that for me on Thanksgiving Day. She saw nothing but good in my efforts.

I expect that any day I should get her invitation to appear on Master Chef.

Yes indeed, any day.

Oxygen Mask by Patty LaRoche

I confess, as much as I fly, I pay no attention to the safety message given at the beginning of the flight. If I’ve heard it a thousand times, I’ve heard it once…or something like that. Anyway, the opposite happens when I fly Southwest where many of the flight attendants have perfected comedic routines instead of the boring ones we are accustomed to hearing. One attendant delivered an oxygen mask warning that, had we not been buckled in our seats, would have received a standing ovation. “If you are traveling with a small child or someone needing help (like your husband), you are to put your mask over your nose and mouth before tending to the other person…unless, of course, your spouse has ticked you off that day. In that case, just take care of you.” Even the husbands laughed.

The warning seems silly. An unconscious person cannot help anyone else. Still, the warning is necessary. Jesus spoke words of similar refrain when listing the second-most important commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In order to love someone else, we must love ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have.

One of my best gal-pals in Mazatlán is “Clair” whose husband, “Duane,” is the winningest (Yes, that is a word) high school basketball coach in Oregon’s history. The other day she shared about the counseling they needed a few years into their marriage because no matter what time of day or night, Duane felt responsible for allowing phone calls from parents or home visits from his players. Clair said the counselor’s advice saved their marriage. “You must set boundaries. You must take care of yourselves first. The players come later.”

Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Our connection with God is a limitless oxygen tank. Being dependent on Him is necessary for us to breathe physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Physically: We must take care of our bodies, the “temple of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 6:19). Eating well (Congratulations to you whose Thanksgiving feast ended with only one piece of pumpkin pie) and exercising daily (No, lifting that piece of pumpkin pie to your mouth does not qualify) are critical if we are going to have the energy to help someone else. Getting enough sleep, drinking water and striving to become healthy also are necessary to our well-being. No surprises there.

Emotionally: God gave us emotions. He gave us feelings, but He never said we are to be controlled by them. I sometimes get angry with Dave, especially when he complains relentlessly about how my weaving in and out of traffic at high rates of speed bothers him. My anger does not give me the right, however, to stop the car in the middle of the Dallas freeway, get out and demand he drive (although the idea, in all honesty, has crossed my mind). Jesus got angry. And yes, I realize that his was righteous anger and mine was…well, not, but surely we all can agree that anger is an emotion, right? The point is, we need to yield our emotions to God’s will and not our own.

Spiritually: The life-line linking our oxygen mask with God must remain unclogged. Our worldly frets and preoccupations can easily entangle us in matters that are easily solved if we just keep that connection open. Flight attendants always add one more oxygen mask tidbit: “To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you.” Get that? Allowing the mask to hang limply is useless; we must do our part and engage the mask by pulling it towards us. Some call it prayer. I call it conversation with God. Taking my cares and concerns to Him. The difference between the days I do that and the days I don’t is indescribable.

Actually, it’s the only reason I’m not parked in the middle of the Dallas freeway.

Tuxpan, Mexico by Patty LaRoche

 

2 Corinthians 8:7: But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all eagerness and in the love from us that is in you—make sure that you excel in this act of kindness too.

Three hours away, Hurricane Willa did major damage in the small town of Tuxpan. Last week, an email went out from Peter and Melinda, the Canadian couple who head the orphanage work here in Mazatlán, asking for two things: (1) volunteers, and (2) a truck large enough to pull a big trailer. Dave offered his truck, and I signed up to help.

Donations had allowed Melinda to shop for food, cleaning supplies and personal items which were loaded into the trailer along with chainsaws, wheelbarrows, etc. Our caravan left Mazatlán at sun-up, and once we arrived and parked, the men noticed a young boy and an elderly woman hanging muddy household items on broken tree limbs. With three wheelbarrows and several shovels, they set out to help. Two women from our team joined them to take pictures but immediately returned to the trailer because of the “stench and mosquitoes.” (Not sure what they expected…)

A young couple on a motorcycle stopped to help, sharing that a Red Cross shelter was a few blocks away and pointing to the one passable, residential road. Decisions were made. Food was placed in one car, and, assembly-line style, the other items were divided up into trash bags and loaded into a second van. Within two hours of us arriving, everything had been distributed, and since the shelter was completely out of food, our gift was a welcome relief, as were the mops, toilet paper, diapers, etc., for the owners of the mud-packed homes.

I then joined the men, only to learn that two of the wheelbarrows had lasted only five minutes before their wheels went flat. Five men with shovels were left with one wheelbarrow, and since the house had two-feet of mud in every room, work had been dramatically slowed. Peter was frustrated.

Before leaving Mazatlán, he had given two men explicit instructions to check the wheelbarrows, and since there was little electricity in Tuxpan, not even his air compressor could help.

Stepping into Rosario’s “kitchen,” I was Nancy Kerrigan on skates (the first time any of us had laughed since we arrived). This would be much harder than I had imagined. Grabbing a shovel, I began tackling a tucked-away area that still had three feet of mud in it, occasionally scooping up a pot or pan or lid. Resilient Rosario was thrilled to see some of her prized possessions rescued.

When it was time to leave, I walked (slid) through Rosario’s living room. Hanging a foot from her ceiling was a picture of Jesus’ mother, Mary. It was the same picture I had found on a tree limb outside, only then, her grandchildren were posed in front of it and it was caked in dried mud. We were able to give Rosario some money and saw this proud, Mexican woman’s smile turn to tears as she said, “Dios te bendiga” (“God bless you.”)

El ya tiene,” I answered.

He already has.”

Letter To Editor: Trevor Jacobs

I would like to thank the Lord that we as Americans still have the privilege and blessing to voice our thoughts and opinions at the ballot box and that we still have the ability to freely elect our government officials at all levels.

I am grateful for everyone who faithfully exercised and practiced their right to vote in the midterm elections. I pray all the decisions that will be made for “we the people” will honor God, and will truly be in the best interest of all Kansans and for the future of this great state.

Thank you and God bless,
Trevor Jacobs

Letter to the Editor: Carolyn Tucker

To Drink or Not to Drink

by Carolyn A. Tucker

Drinking alcohol is like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes you get by and sometimes you die. Everybody has their opinion about consuming alcoholic beverages, so we should see what God says about it.

“Wine has robbed my people of their understanding” (Hosea 4:11 NLT). That’s plain and simple, no commentary needed.

God was speaking in the Old Testament and said, “I chose some of your sons to be prophets and others to be Nazirites. Can you deny this, my people of Israel?” asks the Lord. “But you caused the Nazirites to sin by making them drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, ’Shut up!’” (Amos 2:11,12 NLT).

In the Bible, the Nazirites were set apart for God’s use and were not to drink wine. Today, Christians should desire to be sanctified (set apart) and dedicated to doing God’s work.

In another scripture, God says, “Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, ‘I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!’ That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!” (Micah 2:11 NLT). That’s plain and simple, no commentary needed.

Now we should see what life says about drinking alcohol. My mother had twelve brothers and two of them had miserable lives as alcoholics. The obituary for H.R.J. stated “he departed this life following a long illness.” After brother E.A.J.’s death, his wife wrote in a letter to a family member, “I sympathize with drinkers. If Elmer had only realized how hard he made it on his girls he would have quit. I’m sure.” The autopsy report revealed that he died of pneumonia and cirrhosis of the liver.

Drinking alcohol is like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes you get by and sometimes you die. It isn’t worth the risk. Perhaps you say, “I can handle it.” But what about your children and grandchildren that you influence…can they handle it?