Saturday, 4 April 2015

So we are back in Victoria now, but still want to post these blog updates that we wrote while we were down in Mexico...

It's been a few days since we arrived in San Felipe.   Finding the time to write and then some wifi to post has been tricky because of timing mostly, but we are well and happy!

We had an uneventful travel day on Monday....which is good! :)  The drive down was beautiful in its variation of landscape from palm trees to what looked like huge piles of rock mountains to desert.  God's handiwork displayed for all to see.  The border crossing was all green lights and no traffic issues along the road. We see many busted and torn tires alongside the main road to San Felipe, which keeps you aware of the road conditions. The military checkpoint was a quick drive-through as well. We were thankful for all this today.

We went straight to the church because they were having a leaders meeting and Dave figured that most our billets would be there.  They were having a time of sharing about all the different programs that the church is facilitating.  This is a vibrant church, full of life and passion.

We were unaware of what our accommodations were to be, apart from the fact that we would have some. We were fully expecting to be separated into groups of 3-4. When their meeting was over we were informed that one of the members here donated his rental property to us. It was just what we were hoping for. Six in the house, and four in the attached apartment right near the market and beach, and the last four across this small town (5 minutes away) with a beautiful and generous woman from the church. So the girls in the house have wifi (great for them- and Kimmy especially -as she's finishing up a paper for school and needed to be connected). Kimmy has a great testimony of God's miraculous provision to get her here, AND give her what she's asked for.  This was such an answer to prayer for all of us!  We felt it was important to have our own accommodation so we could meet to worship and pray and debrief together.  God knew exactly what we needed and provided it and we are so thankful. 

We all slept well, and our next bright hot day we spent prepping for the kids program we've planned for. 29-32 degrees, and we spent a few hours walking through the town talking to folks inviting their kids to the program at the church's community centre. Door to door, speaking a combination of Spanish English and sign language. We DID have on sunscreen, but the sun managed to get through and burn a few of us today. But it was light and endurable...  

The evening had our 3 couples (including Dave and Beth) attending 3 different marriage groups that members of the church hold weekly.   We were asked in the afternoon to share at these groups.   We are being stretched and God is proving Himself faithful in giving us words to encourage the people here.  

Our kids were hosted by the pastors daughter for the evening and they had fun making quesadilla and watching a movie.  :)

We woke up bright and early Wednesday morning to get to the Community Center to prep for the first day of VBS!  We were again reminded of the relaxed pace here as the kids trickled in over an hour and in the end we ministered to about 35 kids.   We played games, shared a story, did a craft, and played more games.  Everyone did a fantastic job serving in their roles, and the kids left happy!!  We trust that seeds were planted and in the evening we prayed that they would take root.

After another delicious lunch prepared by Pastor Salvador and Diana, we had a bit of time to go down town to do some shopping and see the beach where the fishermen are coming and going.   It was a sleepy town compared to the last time we were here, but then again it was Wednesday.

Duane taking over here....Wednesday evenings there is a regular prayer service.  What a beautiful time here with them. The passion with which they pray and persist in persevere in prayer hit me this time, again reminding me of what I need more of in my life. I felt like we came down in part to encourage and be a support to this congregation in some way, but really it was to me again. It was a reminder and an encouragement of what I need to live like more and more.

Thursday morning was the same, just the theme for the day was a little different. Yesterday was the 'house on the rock' and today' theme was JOY. The craft time today was great too.  The girls as well as the boys really got into it as we built and painted butterflies with coffee filters and clothespins.

Friday morning the men left on a men's retreat a couple hours out of town to a very small place called Punta Bufeo. There is a very rustic motel there, with the basic necessities of a bed and a bathroom. Both have LED lights but the brighter fluorescent ones don't go on until the  generator is started as it gets dark. The building reminds me of what you'd see in 'Gunsmoke' show or some other real old western. Although they had no airplanes land while we were staying there, they had an airstrip there for some of the people who have small winter homes here.  It was great, and these groups of guys were real great too. There were about 16-17 of us from San Felipe, and the church plant in Gurrero Negro came with about 8-12 guys. 

We had guns for target practice and shot some tin cans, but also shot a gecko, and a rabbit. Then of course the rabbit got skinned, and I saw it head towards the kitchen. The food was very good, and manly, and we also did some fishing, hiking, and a lot of relationship building. We also had some good words for all the guys in three different sessions, from Pastor Salvador, Miguel, Dave Goff and myself.

So while we were out having fun, playing and relationship building, the rest of the team were picking up the slack back at the community centre with the kids program.

Trish here... It's Friday night and we are all just tucked in after spending the evening with the youth.  It was a great time of fellowship for all of our kids.  They played games, sang and prayed together and Jamesa and Kimmy shared their testimonies.   At one point all of my kids were standing together singing along and I had a "how did we get here" kind of thought.  Watching my 4 kids interacting with a youth group in a small fishing village in Mexico, sharing testimonies and serving with their hearts.   i was in awe and full of thanks of where God has taken our family.  

The Daddies of our group (Dave, Jarrett and Duane) left at 7:00 this morning for the men's retreat.  They took our rented 15 passenger van and drove a few hours south to get to where they are spending the night digging into God's word about being Men of Truth.  Duane was asked to speak so has been preparing over the last few weeks.  I know God will speak through him as his desire is to bring God's words to the men and not his own.   As we are just a few blocks from the beach, Duane has been enjoying early morning walks and sunrises as he spends time in prayer asking God to work through him.

Today was our last VBS day for this week.  It was a fun morning of teaching and playing with the kids.  We have some regulars now that we are getting to know.  They are a lovely bunch of kids!  Our kids are doing a great job helping and jumping in to whatever needs doing.  i am proud of all of them!  They make a great team!

We have walked through and driven through some areas of significant poverty coming and going from the Community Center - formally knows as the Breakfast Diner.   It is sobering for all of us as we see the living conditions of so many here in San Felipe.  We live like kings and queens at home and well actually, here too as we have an actual house with bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and living room.  It is not as manicured as our homes at home but it is nonetheless a full home as compared to the one maybe two room homes we have visited over the course of this week.  

We have visited marriage home groups this week and were able to share words of encouragement as well as pray for the couples that attended.  It was good to connect at this level with the people of the church.  They are a beautiful, passionate people!

Tomorrow we will have our first Fiesta!  Daniel and Liam were going to go with the men but then we found out that the youth are also having a retreat tomorrow afternoon/evening so they decided to stay with us.  We are grateful for their help! :)

Saturday, March 22

What a day!!  We were up bright and early to go and help at the Community Center as the church hosts a breakfast every Saturday for the people in the vicinity.   Right after breakfast we pulled out our crafts and activities and set up tables.  The little kids jumped right in to all of the activities and had fun making crafts, getting they nails done, their hair spray painted and the faces painted.  All of our kids did a great job at their station.  Evan and Eric played and played with the boys - running, soccer, tag and more soccer.  They have connected so well with the boys their age!

We were again blessed with a great lunch and after a very quick turn around we were on our way to the beach for the youth retreat.  It is a beautiful beach about 20 minutes south of San Felipe.  It is actually a campers resort of sorts where foreigners bring their motor homes and 5th wheels and spend a few months at a time.  A family from the church own and operate the camp.  It has a great meeting space where we gathered with the youth after having some fun on the beach playing games.  We spent some time in worship and then our girls presented the Manos mime - an interpretive acting out of God's design of creation, the fall of man, and Christ's redemptive work on the cross.  They did a beautiful job creating movement and presenting this moving piece.  Then Daniel and Robyn both shared words of encouragement for the youth.  Both of them did a great job sharing their hearts.  Again...we were proud of "our kids"! 

We met up with the Dads again and headed home tired but full of God's love!  

Sunday we went to the English service at Le Grande Commission (LGC), followed up by the the Spanish service at 10:30.  Apart from the language it felt a lot like home, and what was beautiful to see is the passion of the people here.

Trish here... Yesterday was a day off which we spent at the beach about 20 minutes south of San Felipe.  It is the same beach we went to with the youth on Friday night.   We had a great time of playing in the water, collecting shells along the sand bar and just reading and resting in the sun.  We had dinner out at a downtown restaurant that Dave and Beth frequent with teams while they are here. Fish tacos!!  Yum! :)  We ended the day with some worship and prayer and Dave encouraged us all by reminding us that we were most definitely all called here by God and that His purposes for San Felipe and being fulfilled through us even though we have experienced some challenges with health this past week.   We look forward to more of what God has for us and His people in San Felipe this week as we continue to open ourselves up to being His hands and feet.  

Today is Tuesday and we will be heading to the Community center soon to hand out more invitations to this weeks activities.  This evening the adults will be sharing at various couples home groups again.  

We are blessed to be here and thank God daily for His provision and love over all of us!  Praying for you too that you may be enjoying some rest during your Spring breaks!

Love and hugs...

Thursday, 19 March 2015

our day of rest and pic-ups

Sunday started off in the hot tub and by mid day moved on to beach patrol and sun worship.
After having trouble with choosing dinner and online/phone/ordering problems with a few pizza places, we went out for a walk and dinner.

It actually turned into dinner and a show as we watched the ladies eat sushi with potent doses of wasabi. You know - that short time of "ohwowIputtoomuchwasabionthatlastpiecehowdidthathappen" panic...

As the evening went on and google sent me updates of Daniel and Dakota's waiting adventure. Plane delays with the airline were sent and were very helpful as we didn't have to phone to find out if it was on time or not...  They even told me what terminal and gate they were arriving at. Cool.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Saturday - a travel day

It's hard to believe we have to pack up and leave this little piece of Heaven already.  We have built stronger connections and leave pieces of our hearts at Mount of Olives - Casa Hogar (orphanage), and look forward to leading future missions trips here!!  Thank you Darrell and Maureen for being such gracious hosts and may God continue to bless the work you do in Uruapan and beyond.

This morning I got up a little early and watched the sunrise while listening to bethel Music. So good. Peaceful, contemplating life and death and our purpose of being here. All with a good cuppa joe in hand. Today's word of the day was 'resting in peace'.

After another wonderful breakfast we played a short game of soccer on the field they levelled off since we were there last, and then said our goodbyes to Brian, Alice and Susan, and also to Darryl and Maureen. We were all off to the states again- each through a different border. The three amigos through Mexicali to get to Yuma, D&M through Tecate to San Diego, and us through Tijuana.  The road back was uninterrupted.  The weather was excellent, the Starbucks delicioso, and the Pacific Ocean beautiful and rugged as we travelled.

As we closed in on the border, traffic certainly got busier, and as we reached the last 1.5km to the actual crossing booths, the vendors who sell day after day after day became more numerous very quickly. Afters months and years of practice, they certainly refined their haggling and negotiating skills down to a fine art. Following, line of questioning, what they carried with them, knowing intuitively what it was you actually wanted, what colours sell best and what don't. It was fun to watch and experience, although this time we were happy about the line moving faster than last time (when we almost ran out of gas in line), we weren't able to truly enjoy the 'people haggling' and 'people watching' time in line.

When we crossed into the USA we had the honour of driving through the X-ray machine and another line of questioning in a 'random' check. That was pretty boring, apart from watching the motorcycle guy next to us have to empty his pockets, helmet and shoes, submit to a dog sniff and open a few compartments on his bike... Quite the process.

Once up in San Diego we checked in at the hotel, and within about 1/2 an hour met up with the Jellema tribe who had just landed and picked up their van. It was a warm day and the kids were happy to jump in the pool and enjoy a little screen time in the A/C rooms. Wandering about a little, dinner at Chipotle, and talking about our journey and theirs took care of a good deal of the night. Tomorrow will be a relax day...

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Friday, March 13

We had a full day today, from seeing the poverty of the migrant workers camps to experiencing the beauty of the landscape and La Bufadora, and then visiting a farm that raises 500 sheep, chickens, turkeys, goats, and of course some puppies.

The migrant camp was an experience I will never forget.  Our first stop was at Calimax - a grocery store in Ensenada, where we bought 30 litres of milk, 30 bags of rice, 30 bottles of oil, and 30 bags of pasta.  Then across the street we bought 2 crates of oranges.  After driving a ways to get there we stopped at the bottom of the mountain, where a few shacks were set up.   It looked deserted but after Darrell honked the van horn, slowly but surely a number of women and children came out and walked toward the van.  We didn't know what Darrell was doing and thought we'd be getting out there to give out the supplies we had but he just opened the doors and in they climbed!  I ended up with a beautiful babe on my lap.  We crammed in as many as we could and then another bunch of kids climbed into the back of Brian's pickup truck.

The owners of the farms also own the land where the camps are and some provide the camps with water and sanitation - these are the good camps.

We drove about half way up the mountain on the bumpy dusty road and pulled into a levelled off area where some shacks were set up - the camp.  We all piled out and met the others that lived in the camp.  The kids immediately lined up in 2 rows ready to kick one of the soccer balls we brought into the hole in a piece of plywood we brought up.  If they get it through the hole, they get to keep the soccer ball.  This went on for a half hour or so until one boy skillfully lined up the ball, took a shot, and YES! got it in.  He was one happy boy!! And both of the balls we brought were won.  :)

Then we brought out the clothes, tooth brushes, candy and blankets that we took along and divided them amongst the Moms and kids.  Some will stand right beside you and try to take everything you bring out of the box.  It's a bit of a zoo at that point, but the need is great and the people are anxious to get what ever they can.  After this the Moms stand in a line and receive a bag of food and then everyone gets one or two oranges.

I talked (mostly with actions and the wee bit of Spanish I have learned) to a 16 year old girl who just had her second child..a beautiful boy.  She was so proud of her 2 children, showing me her new son, nestled in her snuggly.   I prayed a prayer of blessing over her new son, that he would grow up big and strong, and we were on our way.

I left thinking about what it would take to transform that little migrant camp to where it didn't have to exist anymore because all of the inhabitants would have their own house, work that could provide a decent living for them, and education for the children and the young adults that are no longer in school because they have children.  That would be the end goal of transformation in that community...meeting felt needs through education and support until they are supporting themselves. Another step in the direction of eliminating systemic poverty one person/community at a time.

Darrell and Maureen frequent that camp as they take each team that visits them there doing what we did.  The people there respect them and they have become family to them.

It was difficult to leave there and carry on with our day.  We drove further south and reached 'La Bufadora'.  After a tasty fish taco lunch from a place that Darrell and Maureen also frequent (a brother to one of the "house dad's" at Casa Hogar), we walked down the street lined with venders, all wanting our business, to the end where we saw the guyser/blowhole.  It performed without fail and we enjoyed the spray of the cool ocean on our faces.

On the way back to the orphanage we stopped in at another friend of Darrell and Maureen who they help to support.  Sarah has 2 children, Angel and Jesus.  Jesus has epilepsy and is mentally and physically handicapped.  He just stared at us and smiled as we held his hand and prayed over him.  Sarah is a remarkable Mom with a beautiful attitude and carries such joy in her despite her difficult circumstances.  Her son Angel is a huge help to her as he loves on his brother, and she was so proud of him, showing Darrell and Maureen his recent report card with excellent marks.  This is actually a success story compared to what we witnessed in the migrant camps - there is employment, a home (albeit a trailer with an added plywood room for Jesus),  and education.

We arrived back at the Orphanage to another wonderful meal prepared by Rosa and Patti, 2 women that Darrell and Maureen employ to cook for the groups that they host.  After dinner we chatted with Brian, Alice, and Susan (3 retired snowbirds from that drove up from Yuma...that's another story...) and then called it a day.   Thank you Father, for your provision, faithfulness, and love that never fails. We are grateful for the opportunity to be your hands and feet in this fallen world.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Yesterday I found myself thinking about the Grandfather I never met. He was a bee keeper in The Netherlands and died During WW II, When my Dad was just a young 9 years old. I was cleaning bee hives - the white square wooden box kind - of all the left over bees wax. It felt special to me to be doing something I know my Grandfather That Would Have done many times in His lifetime. :)

Duane and Liam continued to map out the prayer garden Duane That drew plans for the last time we were here and Dominique, Jamesa, and Evan spent the better part of the day doing odd jobs for Darrell and Maureen.  

We were privileged to sit in on the music lesson of some of the kids here. Some are learning to play the guitar and the piano and some of them are all part of the choir. Man, They can sing !! It was beautiful to hear the kids belting out songs about the love Jesus has for them. We pray that what they are singing is going deep down into their heart! I was in my element as I sat down beside one of the girls and Helped her learn to play Here I Come To Worship on the piano. :)

Being here has been such a gift after the pace we were living before we left. God knows what we need and is eager to give us good gifts!  

Today will be a mix of work and play. We are headed to the migrant camps to visit and play with the kids there as well as La Bufadora  
Tune in tomorrow for a peak at today! 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Time is so strange When you travel. This morning we woke up in Seattle and esta afternoon we find ourselves in Mexico! All Went so smoothly today from shuttle busses picking us up at 5:30 a.m. to flights, to rental vehicle, to finding our way-through Tijuana and driving across the border without even stopping, driving-through to Ensenada and finding our way to Urupan! Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow !!  

Have Three years passed but it feels like yesterday That We drove up the hillside to visit the Mount of Olives orphanage. God has-been so faithful to this mission as we can see from the Changes That Have taken place here. At the top of the mountain stands a beautiful building now houses teams That When They Come here to work to complete with rooms full of bunk beds, a bathroom, a huge kitchen, and a picturesque "living room" complete with fireplace and big windows overlooking the incredible olive groves. Outside is still a work in progress and Duane will leave a phase 2 plan for the prayer garden / fire pit area. The massive bolder That the kids Climbed 3 years ago has not moved (ha) Which we spotted as we turned off the highway and made our way up the hillside.  

The last time we were here we came from the other different direction so we prayed for God to show us the turn off to Urupan so we would not miss it and I did. It is amazing how the sights and fun Become so familiar again!  

We feel so privileged to be here again, to share in the work of this amazing mission, and to Strengthen the ties that so Quickly Grabbed us 3 years ago. The kids are off Already exploring and taking pictures. We are looking forward to seeing the resident kids later today or tomorrow and Have An Excursion planned to visit a local "camp" where some of the kids That meat from live here. These kids Have very little and live in poverty. We will bring some of the soccer balls That We Have with us and play some games with them, and leave them some other needed items That Mount of Olives supplies.

We are Being called for dinner ... more to come later!   We are so thankful for each day and for the opportunity to be here together. Thank you, Jesus !!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015



A New Post??
What is up with that? Really - what's up...

We are jest gettin' ready for a run...

Until next week, Adios!