No Mi Gusta Raton

"Usually we don't take Saturdays off" is what Dave said so I thought our corn picking foray with the "disco" might be a leisurely afternoon. After doing some house to house hunting for a disco, not exactly sure what it was in the first place, we finally gave up (Dave found one later). The sights and smells that filled my head and burned my eyes were amazing in the van filled with Dave's family as we bumped down the rutted gravel road toward the ranch where his in-laws farm their crop of corn. This crop will provide their corn supply for the year giving them tortillas, corn on the cob, and any other possible concoction imaginable.

It is a good harvest this year, they will have corn through the winter. The peaches and apples have come in strong as well and canning will allow for more good food this winter. It is a privilege to be a part of this process. No machinery is available so the work is all done by hand. We hand shuck the corn on the plant, with sore thumbs to prove it, then toss the cob into a burlap bag to haul up to the cabin. We kick the stalk over when done and when the bag is full heave it to the shoulder and walk up the hill, climb the ladder, and add it to the drying pile!

The "disco" did come in handy in the middle of the days work. The "disco" did not provide just the right atmosphere for a party though in one sence I guess it did. It is a cast iron concave cooking pan with legs to straddle a fire. Dave's wife Delia made us an amazing lunch on the device and we ate like royalty under a juniper tree in a picturesque valley of the high sierra.

Back to the beginning. Our last few days in Portland with Laura were chuck full of activities. One of the highlights was running to Goodwill to grab a couple wallets to fake out the pickpocket's when a spontaneous cloths swap happened. We really felt bad about rousing Laura the morning we left at four AM to catch our six AM flight but we were off and made it to Chihuahua with out a problem and our bags followed like faithful puppies. Dave from Mexico Medical Mission, a college friend, met us at the airport after driving all the way from San Antonio, TX. After a spectacular drive through the high sierra and down through some rugged canyons we arrived at the mission hanger that we would call home for the next month.

"He was like a butterfly that flew over several flowers and landed on a cow pattie."

John the Menonite



We started the week sleeping on the floor in an abandoned house. Reid, Eike, Heidi and I drove over to the coast for the weekend to hang on the beach and hopefully fill our dinner plate with fresh crab. After visiting the Tillamook cheese factory we found a picturesque beach to make dinner and ate fresh Cod over the hot coals. The next morning we were unable to use the bathroom with no running water so Heidi and I found a nice spot to relieve ourselves and a huge huckelberry patch at the same time! The crabbing adventure payed off and after a few tries our skills were sharpened and the crabs started flowing into our boat. We only caught one keeper of the Dungeness but many smaller rock crabs. We dined that night on fresh huckelberries and sweet crab meat!

The next several days we moved over to my sister Laura's house with Dan and Kai and we enjoyed several days running errands and picking up last minute items for our trip. We also took a day to design and sew pack covers for our backpacks to make them less conspicuous and slightly waterproof. Heidi and I made ourselves useful and took up some house projects for Dan and Laura in the midst of eating great food and enjoying Laura, Dan, and Kai's company.

In order to get Mom and Dad Robertson to ourselves for a day Heidi and I left early for Maupin Oregon before her brothers, Nathan and Jared, arrived. We filled our days with them seeing the sights including the local Bible camp, hiking the gorge, seeing White River Falls and scoping the Deschutes river for our rafting trip. When the boys showed we headed down to the river and Heidi and I tried our hands at the rapids first. The first section was punctuated by long flat stretches on the water where I became convinced that days in these little crafts might not be all that comfortable. The second half of our journey made me forget my aching legs and concentrate on navigating the walls of water ahead. Shooting the largest rapid just as planned we hooped and hollered as the family watched from shore. The good sections of river came in quicker succession and we rallied through them all. At the end Heidi didn't quite get up her speed and a big standing wave caught her and sent her over. A short swim later we met on shore with all our parts and pieces. Twenty pushups on the rocks made me the loser as neither of the boys flipped their rafts as they plied the same waters.

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
C. S. Lewis



And we're off. The match has begun, in one corner we have Heidi the Freight Train Wilder weighing in at a lean 144.6 lbs and the other corner we have Lyle the Cyclone Wilder tipping the scales at a hefty 165.9 lbs. One week down, 31 to go. Feeling guilty for leaving but very excited, we flew out of our precious, comfortable home for the journey of a life time, leaving our comfort zone in the dust. Our trip officially started on Oct. 1st when we left Port Alsworth, however, I think the adventure started several weeks before as Lyle and I frantically finished up the "must do" list before departing.

So far the journey has been better than anticipated. Before leaving Alaska Rhet and Rebecca had us out to the valley for a fun evening with friends. Lyle had a great time catching up with old friends and I enjoyed building new friendships with his compadres (I'm practicing my spanish : ). Thank you Rhet and Rebecca!! While in Anchorage, Lyle and I also had the privilege of being a part of a new life in Alison and Dennis' delivery of their baby! (no Lyle did not practice his doctor skills) Alison went into labor 3 weeks early and it was a great experience fo us to share that time with them. Seeing Dennis and Alison only hours after the baby was born allowed us to share in their tremendous joy over their new little bundle of fun and witness their first sleepless night!

October 3rd Lyle and I winged our way to Portland, OR. where we have been doing house remodel projects, running most every day, eating delicious food, rafting the Clackamas river, and enjoying crazy good weather!! Reid and Eike TenKley have been putting up with us for a week now and we have savored every day with them. Truly, it has been such a joy for me to have a relaxed, informal environment to get to know my new cousins better. Lyle has been trying to work out some opportunities to sell our salmon at local farmers markets here in Portland. I am excited about the future of Iliamna Fish Co. and visits with Eike have given me some real concrete ideas about ways I can come along side Lyle and help him grow our fish business, which is a real answer to prayer.

On Wednesday Lyle and I drove to the Clackamas river, inflated our pack rafts, and explored the river. Apparently we went through some class 2 and 3 rapids and for only my 3rd time pack rafting I was feeling pretty jolly good about myself. The truth of the matter is, I have a good guide who looks out for me. After five miles or so we finally decided to pry ourselves from the water and we embarked on my first hitch-hike ride back to our car, very exciting! A little disapointed but releived we didn't have a psycho driver, we returned to our car unscathed. Thursday night we joined the TenKley clan for a dance lesson where we were introduced to the waltz! It was a blast, such a great time. Dancing with Lyle is never boring and to share the experience with family was awesome. We loved it!!

As I reflect on the last week there is one word that comes to mind: Rest. I feel like this time in Portland has been a time of rest. We have been able to catch up on much needed sleep, we have been able to get some quality exercise, and most importantly we have been able to spend more valuable time in God's word and in prayer-together. The more I experience quiet time with the Lord and with Lyle the more I am convinced of the tremendous value of a quiet time together. We are both drawn closer together and we encourage and challenge each other in our personal walk with the God. And prayer, there is power when two or more pray together, praise the Lord for this time!
Speaking of prayer, I know some of you out there are praying for Lyle and I, thank you!! On Sunday before we left Pastor James had the church pray for us and it was fantastic for me to feel the Holy Spirit move as so many believers gathered around us and lifted us up, it was so energizing, uplifting, humbling, encouraging, exciting! For those of you praying for us we would ask that you pray that both of us have open ears and soft hearts to the Holy Spirit's leading. During our trip there will be a fair amount of time when we will not be working with a specific mission group and I think during this time it will be easier for us to get wrapped up in satisfying our own desires. We just don't want to be so distracted that we miss opportunities God may have for us to serve others, be a testimony, and glorify Him. Therefore, we want to constantly be listening for His leading.
We love all of you and are so thankful that the Lord has given us so many people who care for us so deeply.