Saturday, February 26, 2011

E-Update - HerrinMission - March 2011

Greetings from Monterrey!  It's been a while since we've sent a newsletter--life barrels along a such a speed, and the life in ministry here seems to lead from one thing to another.  Have you ever been on a mission trip?  Do you remember how you ran from one thing to another, enjoying it, loving it, interacting with people in wonderful and life-changing ways??  Your trip probably lasted a week--we're going on six years of it! ha,ha..  And, we wouldn't have it any other way.  Life is FULL...and it's good...and best of, "God with us!"

Ministry and service at the both the teachers' college and the seminary go forward.  Jeanne is teaching and guiding those delightful-if-not-sometimes-pesky high schoolers in the mornings and working with the first-year student teachers in the afternoons, helping them develop and use their English-language vocabulary.  Jon is at the seminary in the mornings, attending to the duties of the dean, and teaching theology and church history; in the afternoons, he works with three levels of student teachers, teaching educational philosophy, grammar, and written and oral communication.  Then, on the weekends we're both active in our discipleship group and worship.

Megan and Andrew continue working closely with their youth group, doing discipleship on Friday nights and a fun gathering on Saturday nights.  They also are helping Jeanne with the book club...which is really seeing lives brought together, touched and changed.  Jeanne started the book club last August...and this last week, we were able to see every person who is in the book club at Meg and Andrew's youth gathering at church!!  Most of the book-club members are, this really excited us!

Jesse is doing well in college.  She made it over that hurdle of the first semester, and now she seems to be settling in to college life nicely.  As always, she continues with that spirit of service--she is volunteering at the First UMC of Georgetown, TX, across the street from the university, helping in their ESL program.  We are so proud of her.

If you have e-mail, you probably have internet!  When you get a chance go to our web-site ( and check out the new pictures we've posted there--pictures of both the seminary and the high school/teachers' college.  Soon, we will put up pix of all that Meg and Andrew are involved in...well, not ALL--that would be WAY too many pictures!! ha,ha...

Many of you have asked in the past, "What can I do for the seminary?" or "Is there some way I can help with the school where Jeanne is teaching?"  "How can directly impact the ministry there?"  And, we can happily say, "YES, you can!!"  Right now, we have two needs:

First, we really need a new copier at the seminary.  We're nursing along an old one that just can't keep up with both office needs and student needs.  We have found a copier that will work faster, that we can connect to the office network--cost:  $1000.  You may send ANY sized donation to:

In the "Donation Information" block, just direct it to special project:  HERRIN/290: SMJW-COPIER.  

Or, you may mail a check made out to The Mission Society with a note in memo saying "HERRIN/290: SMJW-Copier" to:

                The Mission Society
                6234 Crooked Creek Road
                Norcross, GA 30092

As soon as we have enough funds, we will let you know so you can celebrate with us!!

Second, last year, Jeanne introduced the idea of the  "reading corner" to the Laurens school (where we serve in the afternoons)--something they have never seen or heard of!  The school now wants this for their elementary class rooms, and we would love to help the school get this idea implemented.  We need books--lots and lots of children's books, grade levels 1-6.  If you have any children's books you don't need, if you find some at a garage sale, if you run across some at a thrift store, we would love to be able to give them to the school here.  We just need you to collect them, box them up and mail what you find, what you have--book rate!--to our Texas mail service:

                Jon and Jeanne Herrin
                2525 W. Veterans Blvd.
                Lot 15 PMB 51
                Mission, TX  78572

If you can get them there, we'll get them here!  And what a difference books can make in a child's life!!  You and I know, let's show these teachers and children the value of reading.

Well, that's about all from this end.  We thank you, we love you, we miss you...and we think of you often.  We are so glad that God brought us all together...even if only by e-mail!  Please, please, pray for peace and order in our city, for an end to the violence, for a spirit of hope.  And, remember us as we serve here as an extension of your ministry, as an expression of your love for God.
With the greatest love and thanksgiving,
The Herrins in Monterrey
                Jon, Jeanne, Megan, Andrew...and Jesse!

(As always, PLEASE feel free to print and distribute this newsletter as you wish-- mail it, facebook-it, post it to your blog--whatever!  Thank you!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where We Serve (Part 2) - El Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley

This weekend, we look at El Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley!  I remember hearing about the seminary years ago, I believe when we were still living down in McAllen, Texas, and I was teaching at South Texas College.  Some years later, I met Juan Quintanilla--a newly arrived Latino pastor in Georgia--who had been the dean of this seminary.  Seeds had been planted all along the way that grew into a real hope to someday work and serve in and through this seminary.  Then we left the US and moved to...Venezuela?!

Life and ministry in Venezuela was amazing--the people are wonderful, spite of the hardships they must endure.  The difficulties there are even greater for foreigners.  When we left Barquisimeto in 2008, we were some of the last North Americans in a metro area of almost 2,000,000.  While we had to leave Venezuela, we knew that God was not through with us in missions, for that passion to live and serve cross-culturally burned on.  Before we left, the invite came--"Hey, we could really use you in Monterrey, Mexico--there's a seminary there that needs teachers...."  Of course, we were on that like flies on rice!

The John Wesley Methodist Seminary is an institution of the Methodist Church of Mexico that is presently training some 250+ men and women to serve as pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries and other types of church leaders.  The seminary draws students primarily from northern Mexico...and the graduates serve all over Mexico and in many Conferences of the U.S.

Here are some scenes of the seminary and seminary life...:

The Seminary from the road...and one of our students hamming it up!

Here, as there and everywhere:  The World is My Parish....

Our administrative assistant, Itzeel, helping a student....
Our library...actually one of the largest theological libraries in the Latino world!

We have three classrooms, a chapel, the library and two offices--small but adequate!

Some of the students relaxing after class....

Jon, addressing the finer points of deontological ethics...

Students receiving a gift of a bilingual NT from a church in the US....
 So, there you see a little of life at the seminary--El Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley.  When you support this ministry, you're supporting and enabling the training and equipping of these passionate young people as they follow God's call in their lives.  Thank you for having a part in this amazing ministry!

The Herrins in Monterrey....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where We Serve (Part 1) - El Instituto Laurens

Many of you know that we serve in two places here in Monterrey.  Many of our previous pictures have given you glimpses of El Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley, but you've not seen much of our other place of work.  I've decided to run two entries about where we work.  This weekend, El Instituto Laurens....

El Instituto Laurens (The Laurens Institute) was founded 125 years ago by a Methodist minister from Virginia who saw a need to provide an education for families with parents who traveled all over northern Mexico/south Texas.  This new school would allow the children to remain in one place while the parents moved about, here and there--wherever there was a crop to harvest or a building to be built.

One hundred and twenty-five years later, El Instituto Laurens is a prominent, known educational institution in Monterrey, Mexico.  They now have two campuses and over 1,000 students!!  Many of those students are on scholarship, allowing them access to a better education.

Jeanne teaches in the High School (known here as "preparatoria" or simply "prepa") and in the Teachers' College (la Licenciatura en Educación Bilingüe...the Bilingual Education Program).  Between her three classes, she has some 40 students.  Jon teaches on in the Teachers' College...teaching courses in English Grammar, Written and Oral Communication and la Filosofía de la Educación (Philosophy of Education).  In his three classes, he has some 45 students.  So, just in El Instituto Laurens, we are interacting with and impacting some 70+ lives!! (We share the students of one class--they get a double-whammy of the Herrins! ha, ha).

Here are some pictures of the school from our apartment...which is a part of the Laurens campus:

The High School and Teachers' College building on the Monterrey Campus of El Instituto Laurens

A view of the neighborhood around the school.

A view at sunrise...students and teachers are already on the scene!

A bit of the city, as seen from our front porch.

And, of course, the buildings are nothing without people.  Here are some scenes for our ministry with these wonderful young people:

Jeanne with one of her high-school classes...non-stop fun!

Where real-life happens...       

...teaching, guiding and sharing.

Jon with the teachers and staff of the Teachers' College  

Sharing, learning, educating...
...grammar offers life-lessons as well, when taught with purpose!

Second Year students...future teachers of Mexico!

In our next blog entry, we'll return to El Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley...and let you see what life there looks like.  We thank you all for your on-going prayers and support of the ministry here--your prayers and gifts allow us to touch, no--IMPACT lives here in a wonderful way.  Let's go forward, impacting the lives of those around us....

The Herrins in Monterrey....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter in Monterrey!

Well, how cold could it really get in Mexico, right??  Ha!  Well, this morning when we got up, it was 24ºF outside...and only 56º inside!!!  A little while ago, we had snow flurries!!!

Like most Mexican houses and apartments, we have no heat in the house.  We get up and put on sweats and jackets, hats and scarves...and that's just to make breakfast!  Going outside requires one more layer....

And, it's not just houses and apartments--hardly any buildings have heating!  Since we get so little cold weather, it just isn't economically justifiable to install costly heating systems that may or may not be used every year.  And, when these cold times come, they don't stay too long--we're supposed to be back up into the 70's by Sunday or Monday...just three days from now.  Meanwhile...we suffer a bit!

I wanted you to see how we, here's a picture of my class at the teachers' college yesterday.  These are some of my third-year students...and we were working on the composition basics...:

Yes, coats, hats, gloves...and it was cold!!

Karla and Anakaren just try to stay warm by staying close!
So, remember--when you see that it's cold in our part of the world...that means cold inside and out!!  But, if 5,000,000 other residents of Monterrey can handle, then we can, too!!  Hot tea...and lost of moving around!!  Good's up to 28º!!! 

A Good US Visit...

From Dec.21 - Jan.20, we were able to be in the US to visit with family, friends and a few congregations.  As many of you know, it was our first Christmas in the US since we were pretty excited!!  And, we were NOT disappointed.  What a joy it was to be home with my parents, to see all the Christmas decorations and hear the Christmas music.  How great it was to ring-in the New Year with my brother and his family in Virginia.  In the mix of it all, we even got to celebrate Andrew's birthday!

Candlelight Christmas Eveat Covenant UMC, Dothan, AL

Christmas Eve at Mom's House!!!                    

Christmas Dinner!  YUM!!!  With Mom and Papa....

Andrew with Cousin Solomon in VA             

Snow-man!!  First time skiiing!  (Thank you, Uncle Jeph!!)

Look at those snow-angels!!  (The look the part, but can they ski?? ha,ha...)

Relaxing with cousins, Jacob and Theo, after a day of skiing..!
Megan entertaining her cousin, Sky...

Happy 14th Birthday, Andrew!!

 After being with family, we were able to be with some wonderful congregations!  Our first stop was actually Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama--the wonderful church my parents serve.  They received us as warmly as ever!  After spending New Years' with my brother, Jeph, in VA, we traveled down to Rockhill, SC, where we were able to be with Woodland UMC.  

Woodland UMC, Rockhill, SC

With Rev. Larry Parker and our world-traveling friend, Karen Kluever

Having lunch with the Woodland Youth after service--Japanese food!

 From South Carolina, we traveled on over to Blairsville to visit our last home before going into missions.  Of course, our Coosa UMC family welcomed us with open arms!  Thank you, Coosa, for all you do!

Jeanne chatting with Mrs. Gladys

Jesse and Meg reconnecting with old friends and new...

Andrew...with old "buddies"
The friendship never ends...

 After Blairsville, we went down to Gainesville to be with Jon's Aunt Kay.  Our first stop along the way was to visit my brother, Timothy, in Dahlonega, GA.  We got to go out with him and Sara to eat some super delicious Mexican food...and then just visit a while, catching up on all the amazing things he is doing in school and community....

Big Bro, Little Bro (I'm the little bro!)

Then, during our week in Gainesville, we were able to visit with the amazing people of Mt.Pleasant UMC.  How great it was to see our friends from LONG ago...they are the ones who loved us into the UMC back in 1992!!

Mt. Pleasant UMC, Cleveland, GA

 We had other plans with folks at New Liberty UMC, Buford First UMC, the District Office...but weather came in...and, boy, did it come in!!  WOW!!  Three days, iced-in.  But, as we remarked then, we were in a good place to be iced-in!  (Thank you, Aunt Kay!!!)

Aunt Kay and Meg...vying for most colorful!

5" of snow...and then ice!

Also, while we were in Gainesville, we got to spend time with Aunt catch up with her over a wonderful dinner at the Longstreet Cafe--those of you from Gainesville will know the place!  And, we got to spend some time with Jeanne's sister, Lorena, in Dawsonville.  We even "let" Jeanne spend the night with her of those stay-up-late-and-talk-all-night visits!!
 After we were able to chip away the ice and snow, we did get to be with Tate UMC - the very first church to commit to supporting our mission service back in 2005.  They were as warm and as welcoming as ever!

Tate UMC, Tate, GA

Jon sharing at Tate

After Tate, time was up and we needed to get home...back to the work on this side.  We are now back to the work at the seminary, the high school and the teachers' college.  Life is good...God is good!  We thank all of you for all your prayers, your help, your gifts, for warm beds, for hot meals...for EVERYTHING that everyone did in making our trip possible and fun!