Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 7 & 8 of Mexico 2013

Our final day in Mexico was a fun day off! Got to go see some of the local landmarks, we got to spend time together, and we got to enjoy some of the amazing food. The hot today's highlights for me were laughing with each other, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and Swimming together at the beach. We went back to the EOC at YUGO and had a wonderful supper. Then we headed back to the beach for an evening campfire and to celebrate communion together. This was a wonderful time! 
Then it was early to bed because it was early to rise.  After supper we packed the cargo trailer and all the cars. And then we got up at 3:30 AM and were on the road by 4:15 AM. We did this so as to make the border crossing experience more tolerable. As it was still took us an hour and 15 minutes sitting in traffic to cross back into the USA.  We had a few scary moments when one of our members lost the passport, and then found it.  After a long day of travel we ended up back in Ripon by 515-5:20 PM.  Below are a few photos with what the kids did while traveling, and some photos from throughout the week.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 6 of Mexico 2013

Today was a crazy mixed up emotional day.  Praise God for this amazing chance to serve you!

We had the normal start to our:  chapel, breakfast and out the door.  But this morning had a sense of excitement as we all knew that a lot of work was ahead to finish our house in time for our dedication with the family.  We also knew it would be the last day to say good bye to our ninos and nina's and the plan to bless them with the education bags that we prepared. 

We got to our sites and dove in.  Trim work, door frames, hanging doors, extra touches like a portable sink and door mat made from scratch, touch up paint, paint the walls, install the light fixtures, clean up the site, finish the bunk beds, stage the house, hang the curtains, install the mattresses, make the bed.    

We were also blessed by the family who wanted to prepare a meal for us, salad, beans, fried chicken and ice cold soda.  We were told that the family killed 3 of their 5 chickens just to feed us.  We came to bless them in their poverty and from having nothing they wanted to bless and thank us.  

The church where we held VBS also prepared a luncheon for the kids ministry team, home made burritos and mashed potatoes and chorizo.  

The VBS team wound up their ministry and joined the frenzy that the build team was in and we finished the house in time for the 2 pm dedication.  Each member of the build team had a chance to hold the keys to the house they help build and say a few words to the family.  I think Issac said it well that we built a house but the family now had the chance to make it a home.  Mike challenged them to make their home a place that honored Jesus and generously shared the love of Jesus with others.  There were a lot of tears and more than a few pictures taken.  What an amazing thing when the family was given the keys to their home and they unlocked the door and waked in for the first time.  It is so humbling to know that God used us to provide for the homeless. The kids were jumping on their bunk beds, the mom just stood back and took it all in.  
Our unofficial team motto all week has been, "Live to serve, serve to live."    This time of service was yet one more reminder of true life in Jesus.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 5 of Mexico 2013

"Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you're my God!  You're all together lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me."

You may recognize these words as the chorus to a familiar praise song.  We saw a wonderful God today here in Mexico.  We started our day with a chap,e service.  The praise band from Yugo does a great job as well as the speakers helping to motivate us and keep our focus on Jesus.  We had a great breakfast and were out the door to our building ministry and kids ministry.  Another great time at both places.  The kids are really being blessed, both by the drama our kids ministry is doing but also from the bonds of friendship that are being formed.  Our speaker in chapel thanked us this morning, because he is a missionary with Yugo, and his wife is a Mexican, who as a girl first heard the gospel of Jesus when she was a little girl, from a group just like ours, that came to her village.  She started going to church, gave her life to The Lord, started working at Yugo, and our speaker came to Yugo as a kid in youth group.  Then came back as an intern, and eventually fell in love with this young woman.  They now have 2 daughters, and live here in Mexico as full time missionaries. We don't know now, we may never know, what seeds God is planting in the hearts and minds of the kids and family we are building a home for, but with Gods power, we who haven been sent are reaching people for Jesus.

The house is coming along, the roof was finished today, the windows installed, the trim work done with a few perfect cuts, the walls spackled, and textured, we chose to build a sink for the family, a bed for the mom and a set of bunk beds for the kids.  Those were assembled and stained today, tomorrow is installation.  

After our day of work we came back to a wonder supper of authentic Caren asada.  Wow what a wonderful meal.  We had planned to worship with a local congregation, that is housing the kids ministry. They asked us to share in part of the worship service.  So, team Foley stepped up and Brandon and Kyra read scripture and Chris shared his testimony and Sheryl prayed.  Logan Van Vuren also shared his testimony and Pastor Nick and Issac Lewis led us in singing.  This experience was AWESOME!  Words pale at an attempt to describe it. We were sing praise songs in English, they were singing in Spanish, and it was for me a little glimpse of what heave will be like, all Gods children sing his praise.  The song we sang, was she song that I quoted at the beginning of this blog.  At the end of the service the pastor called us up front because he wanted to have the congregation lay hands on us and pray for us.  There were very few dry eyes, it was a very powerful experience.  

Tomorrow we will finish construction and we hope to have our house dedication at 2 pm.  Please pray that the kids will hear the saving message of Jesus at the Kids ministry and that the family will know the love of Jesus in us.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 4 of Mexico 2013

Ephesians 1:18-19
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

At chapel service tonight we were reminded that we are God's masterpiece, and that we can hoard what has give us, we can use it for ourselves or the world.  But that God wants us to engage our gifts, talents, personality, for Him.  That reminded me of this verse from Ephesians 1:18-19.  I know a lot of people who do not think they are a masterpiece, nor special, nor valuable to God.  I hear in this verse that God wants us not only to know, but to also understand to the very core, that God has called us to hope, a great inheritance, and great power.  

So today we had another great day.  Despite a few challenges like leaving late for the work site because we were on dish duty in the kitchen.  Despite our foreman forgetting the dry wall nails.  Despite Kevin getting electrocuted by a faulty extension cord.  Despite having van loads of kids brought to our VBS.  (Literally a white dodge caravan pulled up at the VBS site and 21 children got out of the van. Obviously there are no seat belt laws.)

The kids are trusting us more, looking for us, holding hands, coloring together, playing soccer with a half deflated basketball.  Crafts are a big hit, especially play-doh.  

On the house side of things we made significant progress.  We finished the trim, did all the drywall, did the roof sheeting, finished the electrical, and papered the roof.  Tired bodies and muscles, but a sense of it being a good tired is the end to a wonderful day.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 3 of Mexico 2013

Isaiah 42:1-4
The Servant of the LORD

1 'Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.'

In this verse the Prophet is talking about Jesus.  He is talking about the character of Jesus and how he will interact with the people. And we see that carried out in Jesus life.  We are called by this same Jesus to be like him in how we act and conduct our lives. Today, in the lives of the people I am serving with and in the lives of the people we are serving,  I got to see this scripture fulfilled.  I got to see our team wear play-doh ear rings, hugs given out generously, connections made between people who don't speak the same  language, and who were complete strangers an hour ago.  
I got see our team members going out of their way to show kindness, to make a child laugh, to rub a dogs belly, to work hard, to sweat, to endure blisters, to share their lunch with strangers, color pictures and play soccer, these are the things of justice, of hope and delight.  All these things done in the name of our Lord, which were foretold by a prophet, and lived out by Jesus.  Because we are his disciples, we too do the things that he did.  

Out team was mostly up for the day by 7 am, we had chapel at 8 lead by the Yugo staff, breakfast at 8:30, and out to do kids ministry and construction by 9:15 am.  Where we are doing ministry is about a 20 minute drive from where we are staying.  Our team split into two team, Kids ministry and House building.  The kids ministry team was dropped off in one part of the village and the build team went about .5 miles away to where they are constructing the house.  Prior to us coming we had to decide what style of house we were going to build.  We chose a three room house that has two bed rooms and a common room.  The cost of the house is approximately $4000.  The cement slab was poured prior to our arrival, so that when we arrive we could complete the construction in 4 days.  Below are some pictures of our progress in one day.  

The build team is further split up into the cut team, that measures and cuts all the lumber.  The framing team that does all the construction.  And the paint team that does all the painting.  Our construction Manager assigned to us was very pleased with our progress and said we are ahead of schedule.  Te single mom we are building for worked along side us painting and cleaning brushes, as did her mom and dad, and her pastor and the pastors husband.  Her brother also helped with framing and we from time to time played peak a boo with the kids amongst the 2x4's and other construction material.  

The kids ministry team spent the morning looking for kids and ad a really cool connection with a government run day care program that works with kids whose parents are gone 5 days a week.  We were told because it is government run we could teach about Jesus, but we could teach moral lesions, and we don't need to say the name of Jesus to love the kids with his love.  We found these kids really responded to our attention that we gave them. In the afternoon the kids ministry was able to teach some sports with a different set of kids at a church.  No restrictions here so crafts, games and sharing stories filled the time. 

Some quotes by team members include:  "they are so happy and they have nothing."  
"I need to be more content with what I have already been blessed with."  
It was really neat to be able to connect with some one, become friends and we didn't even speak the same language. 

Lots of God honoring work is ahead for tomorrow!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 2 of Mexico 2013

Philippians 1:3-6
Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

So our day started with a wonderful time of worship in the parking lot.  It may have been a first for many, but God showed up in a powerful way.

We were reminded that God has called us and is working in us and we trust in Him to complete the work He first began by calling us on the trip.  We spent some time in prayer over Warren Bovenkirk as he was not going to be able to continue the trip due to Arvella taking ill.  The we loaded up in our vehicles and headed for the boarder.  For those f us who have made this trek before we're greeted by a brand new Mexican border facility.  It is much improved.  We made our way deeper into Mexico and finally stopped at a favorite road side fajita place. Our group enjoyed 88 fajitas and some even went back for seconds. 

Next we made our way to Yugo Ministries, their Ensenda Outreach center is beautiful. We unloaded and secured our vehicles and settled into our living quarters. The we had the wonder chance to meet our family that we are building a house for. Hermalinda is a single mom and her two kids, Elizabeta who is 8 and Alfonso who is 7.  They have never owned a house and she told us that her prayer has always beet for her children to be healthy. A house to live in is an answer to prayer.  We also got a chance to meet the Pastor we will be working with. Then we prayed with the family. 

Next came a delicious supper, orientation, a leaders meeting, ping pong, foseball, and even time for a cup of coffee from the coffee bar.  We ten closed out our evening in worship lead by the Yugo staff. 

Then it was time to organize in tour construction team and our kids ministry team, make assignments and fall into bed.  Our 1st day of ministry starts at 6:30 am. 

Keep lifting us in prayer. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 1 of Mexico 2013

"Give thanks to The Lord, for He is good; His Love endures for ever!"

Our day began by meeting at the church at 7 am, loading up, praying and we were on the road by 7:45 am.  
We stopped at the base of the grape vine at 11:30 for lunch.

Travel over the grape vine was not a problem, but once on the other side near Valencia, the Excursion started to over heat.  We pulled off on an exit, made a quick call to Deacons Bruce DenDulk and Mike Xavier and the problem was diagnosed as a broken heater control valve with a by pass.  See picture.

Next we procured the necessary liquids from our emergency kit and the local grocery store then we were on a search for a replacement part.  Three auto parts dealers later we couldn't find the right part, because no one had it, so we bought a different part and team Kevin LaCasse and Chris Foley rigged it.  Kevin did the wrenching and Chris found the stick.  See photo...

As we made our way to our destination for the night Deacon Bruce called, he had found the correct part we needed at a p,ace down the road, reserved it in our name and texted us directions.  We picked up the part and were on our way.  We decided to change out the part once the engine cooled and we made it to our destination for the night, 142 miles later.  Who knew a stick in the hands of a former Navel officer and a Foley was such a powerful tool!  We arrived at 8 pm, just 12 hours after leaving Ripon.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we have worship planned and then we are off to our final destination, Yugo Ministries, south of Ensenada.  Please pray for the health of our team, for the boarder crossing, and for our safe travel.  We will update all of you tomorrow.  

Blessings, and headed to bed!