Saturday, 24 March 2012

days 10 and eleven

Thoughts from the last couple of days…

Yesterday, Thursday, was a day off as the England teams traded places.  We waved off the first team in the morning from the church.  It was a little hard to say good bye actually.  After just 5 days we grew pretty close to each other!  I guess being in an unfamiliar setting and spending our days walking and praying together lays the foundation for relationships to grow.  I learned so much from being with this group of Jesus lovers.  It was like taking a crash course in street ministry and now part two has begun as we met and welcomed the second team this morning.  This experience is very different from the one the England team had in LA.  There they were busy handing out food and clothing to the most desperate living on skid row.  They had 2 days of heavy rain which increased the amount of people they were helping and also washed all the garbage and human waste down the road.  The hardest part of being there for this team though was the fact that just around the corner is the metropolis of LA in all it's glitz and glamour.  We knew that we were sending the first team into that and are praying for God to cover them with His love, courage and peace.  And so we received the second team that has just come off of that experience.  It is a time for us to be able to pour into them as well as the people of San Felipe.  We enjoyed our day yesterday shopping downtown and having lunch with Dave and Beth at the favourite restaurant by the water.  It was a beautiful warm day.

Today I was up early…I know…it's amazing for me…so I got up and sat outside with my Bible.  The sun was shining warm already and I sat and watched families leave for their days events.   Most of the kids in this neighbourhood go to school.  The kids wear uniforms here.  I have to say, that in a place where there seems to be such disarray, the uniforms bring a sense of healthy pride.  We drive past 2 schools each day we go to the breakfast diner and today we were there as the kids were outside for recess.  I love watching them playing outside.  Kids are kids, no matter how they look or live…they all love to play and these kids were definitely having fun together.  It did my heart good to watch them for a while.  I have a desire to go into the schools and maybe bring the puppets or something.  We'll see where it goes.  The word that spoke to me this morning from a devotion was this…"God loves us as if we were the ONLY one on earth to love."  We talked about this on our way to our meeting place this morning.  We asked God to impress that thought on our hearts so that we would see each person today with His eyes and as if they were each the only person on this earth that God loved.  With that truth in us we prayed that those who saw us felt HIS love pouring out of us and onto them.

We spent the day walking the streets again.  Initially we went to the areas that we were going to minister in and just drove around them praying for openness.  Our family and a few of the Brits went to an area known to be a heavy drug use area.  We drove and declared the light of Jesus into those homes and streets.  When we went back with our invitations, Bibles and balloons in hand we were able to pray for a number of people and families.  Again…we find most people to be open and ready for a new message of hope.  Many people said a prayer receiving Jesus as their personal saviour.  I love how that sounds in Spanish…."Cristo in your corazon"… a beautiful phrase that I recognize while we are walking with our teams  and Spanish/English translators through the streets.   What a privilege to bring the good news!  It's such a simple message.  I have been convicted of over-complicating the message.  We tend to make it difficult on ourselves which then stops us from sharing.  The message we are bringing here is one of hope, love, and access to God through Jesus.  My prayer is that I will take what I am learning here home with me and walk and share with boldness the love the Father has for ALL people.  Give us all YOUR eyes  for YOUR children Jesus!

We spent a bit of time yesterday connecting with the people in our neighbourhood here.  We didn't want to just come and go from our temporary home each day without having any contact with the people here, so yesterday afternoon we made a point of being home on time so we could do that.  Before we knew it a soccer game had started and the girls and I sat with the neighbour lady watching and having a conversation with the little spanish we are picking up.  It is amazing what one can communicate with a few words and hand gestures… :)  Anyway…Duane was talking with the man of the house and why they were renovating the house and adding an addition. He shared that his mother-in-law lives with them and that she is basically bed-ridden due to bad arthritis.  Duane asked if we could come over and pray for her.  He agreed and we decided on a time that would work.  Today after we were done at the breakfast diner we came home with an interpreter and went over to their house.  Havier (the interpreter), Duane, and I went into Martha's (the mother-in-law) room and started talking with her.  The first thing she said was that she had had a vision last night of 3 people coming to see her - one woman and 2 men.  She just kept going on about that saying that she saw us as plain as day as if we were already there, right down to the baseball hat that Duane was wearing.  Thank you God for your confirmation that we were exactly where you wanted us to be at that moment.  Martha has a very strong faith in God.  She also shared that she told her daughter days earlier that she wanted the images/idols that were in her room taken out and thrown away. She didn't need them because she had Jesus in her heart!  You need to remember here that San Felipe (and many Mexicans) have a strong affiliation to Catholicism.  She did that just a few days ago and since then had felt more peace in her room.  She was remembering her own mother and how she told her not to have images but to believe in God alone.  This was very fresh in her memory tonight as she kept talking about it.  I feel like God was preparing her for our time together, reminding her of her belief in Him and how deep those roots go down.  We sat and held her hands and talked and prayed.  Declaring LIFE, commanding illness to LEAVE, speaking words of LOVE and HEALING over her life.  She testified that her pain was easing as we prayed.   We prayed more.  Her faith was beautiful.  Her age, weathered skin and toothless smile did not hinder the depth of her belief and the strength that she lived.  I sat beside this beloved child of God weeping and thanking God for what He was doing in her life-the healing she was receiving and would continue to receive.   At times I felt like the centurion…LORD!  I believe!  Help my unbelief!  Other times I spoke out boldly and with such assurance and I realize that this trip is so much about what God is doing in our own lives.  Her faith did not waver.  Her belief was firm.  By the time we left she had said that that pain in her abdomen was gone and that hew hands had no pain either!
Praise be to the Lord of hosts! 

So, tonight ends with us sitting around our table again, talking about the days events and what God did.  The kids are doing so amazingly!  They are stepping out and laying hands and praying for people, enjoying the community of of new friends, being adventurous in eating, and all sleeping in one room!!  (3 of them in one bed… :)  I continue to marvel at the privilege of being used.  It is humbling.   The fact that we are here as a family is impacting this community.  This will not be the only time we set foot in San Felipe…next time maybe with you!!  

Tomorrow is Breakfast Diner time…we will spend time with the many that arrive to have a meal, and share our crafts, puppet plays, and soccer balls!  

Thank you for your continued prayers and thoughts!  
Love from ALL of us...

DAY nine

Wow!  What a day!  I can hardly believe that it has been just one week since we stepped into San Felipe!  So much has happened, as we have been sharing, and we still have another week here!  Today was the wrap up party for the first week of San Felipe Outreach that we did with the first half of the team from England.  We started our day with some time at the beach…. as Dave Goff says "we're suffering for Jesus…" :)  He says that every time we have Fish Tacos as well…  It was a great time of rest actually after a week of walking the streets.  The sky was brilliant (as the Englanders say… )blue with not a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining in all it's glory.  (which we all are feeling now… )  We spent a few hours there swimming, walking, collecting amazing shells, and dozing on our beach towels.  The kids loved it!  We have quite the collection of shells on our table right now… We then had lunch together one last time with this team.  The lunches we share have been really tasty authentic Mexican dishes.  Something new every day.  I may be asking for some recipes before we leave!  

After lunch we prepared for the Fiesta.  A full sound system and band instruments were brought in, lot's and lots of used clothes, some hair dressers who donated their time for free haircuts, Dr. Miguel came to donate his time for medical help, (seeing a doctor costs money here), and between us and the England team we had beading, face painting, friendship bracelet making, nail polishing, and a few plays and puppet skits.  I think all the people we met over the past week came!  It was amazing to see all the kids come and take part in what we had to offer.   Our craft suitcase will definitely be empty when we leave next week.  These kids LOVE to do crafts!  We had pipe cleaners and piny beads and they had such fun making them into bracelets and ornaments.  I got pretty good at figuring out what they were saying when they would come up to me and ask me for help.  I was called "maestro"  which means teacher… :)  We ended the day with some worship, a short message and a time of healing and prayer for salvation.  Many came forward for prayer and many gave their life to Jesus.  Duane had the privilege of praying for a young boy, Liam's age, and he received Jesus.  He stood there and cried as he prayed.  We met this little guy on Saturday for the first time and could tell right away that he was a ring leader.  A few adults said later tonight that they have been praying for this boy to receive Jesus for a while now, and today was the day!  Thank you God!  He is a born leader and now will use his gifts for Jesus!  :)  

We ended the event with more worship and danced and clapped and sang in Spanish!  It was awesome!  One in spirit and truth despite the different cultures and language.  I really felt that on Sunday in church too.   So cool!

Needless to say, by the time we got home we were a tired bunch.  We sat and had a snack and looked at all our shells and talked about our day before heading off to bed.  Evan was asleep before we finished praying…  :)

Thank you God for the privilege of being your hands and feet in this amazing community.   

Till next time,

notes to self. 
environmental science lesson:  Mexico is closer to the equator than Canada. The closer to the equator the hotter it gets. 
biology lesson:  From the previous lesson we learn that sun shines in Mexico a lot. When going to the beach, put sunscreen on all of your exposed skin. Exposed skin reacts to sun, often in predictable and preventable ways. 


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Day 7-8 (Monday-Tuesday)

The last 2 days we have spent our time walking through the neighbourhoods of San Felipe, knocking on doors and talking with the people.  The local church we are working with here put a plan together to reach all of San Felipe in the 2 weeks that the team from Britain and us are here.  They divided the map of the city into sections and each morning and afternoon we take a couple of hours to go door to door praying, and ministering to the people.  As we prayed tonight before bed, it is a privilege to do this!  It has been our families prayer to be "the hands and feet of Jesus" and when we are walking, talking and laying hands not he people here we really do feel like we are doing just that.  It is amazing really.   The people here are so open.  They come to their door or their fence and allow us to speak into their lives and pray for them.  They share what is on their hearts whether it be a lack of work, illness, fear for their family, their children, and we are able to pray God's blessing over them and their household.  We are being stretched as we are asked to step in and pray or share a scripture that the Lord has shown us for the families we are praying for.  I am learning so much from watching the team from England minister.  They are a beautiful group of believers - young and old - who has spent 2 days a week together since September learning about intersession and ministry.  This trip is part of their schooling and they will continue their studies until June.  They are a mix of ages and maturity but they all gel so well and seem to really love to be together.  We are rally enjoying meeting them and feel very blessed to be working alongside them.  They have been so enfolding of our family and very encouraging as they watch how we operate together.  

We meet around 9:00 in the morning…I say around 9:00 because time is taken very loosely in Mexico.  We don't really mind though because it is somewhat familiar for us… We pray together and then get in our teams ready to go out.  We are armed with balloons, invitations to "la fiesta" and a pamphlet about the different opportunities the church has to offer as well as a prayer of salvation.  The balloons are part of the church's plan to "paint the city red".  We leave a balloon at each house where we have been able to talk with the people that live there.  It is great to see all the red and white balloons hanging on  gates and doors as we walk back to our gathering place.  Today, as a prophetic act, we all wrote messages of hope and scriptures on the soles of our shoes.  As we walked it wore of and was left on the streets we walked down.  We are declaring Jesus over this city wherever we go.  We climbed up a mountain yesterday after lunch.  There is a cross at the top.  At the top we  could see all of San Felipe.  We stood there and declared that Jesus reigns over this city!!  Amen!

After a couple of hours on the streets we meet back at "the breakfast diner" - a building that the church build in the middle of one of the poorer areas, where Saturday morning breakfast is served and kids programs are done. The goal is to have the Diner open every day of the week.  Across the street lives one of the church members and they, along with some other members, are cooking us a warm lunch.  The food has been amazing!  I am so proud of our kids as they try new things and are genuinely thankful for what is placed before them.  They are being very adventurous!  "What's not to like?" Liam says…

We meet together again around 4:00 to go out for another couple of hours.  We tend to see a few more people walking through the streets as they come home from work and school so we will stop and talk with them as well.  Today we prayed for an older gentleman riding his bike.  He was so open!  He just wanted more and more prayer. :)  When I say streets I really mean dusty roads.  Only the main roads are paved.  The rest are made up of sand and dirt.  I am amazed at the state of the homes that people live in.  Today we saw some cement homes - cinder blocks cemented together…but mostly it is wood shack type houses with chain link fences around them.  Some have windows but lots don't.  Most have doors but not all.  Some properties just have a trailer on it.  The poverty is very real here, and yet the people seem content.  Today we saw a couple of little girls that had been to school.  They had a school uniform on and looked so beautiful.  There is a sense of pride in the people here.  I talked with Dave about the general mentality and he did say that there was a general lack of motivation in the people to better their circumstances.  I don't really feel that as I walk through these streets.  They seem to want to care for what little they have for the most part, although the presence of garbage everywhere is staggering. Many people do attend church and there is a strong Jehovah's Witness and Catholic contingent here as well.  One of things we keep in mind as we talk with people is to talk about how they can have access to God through Jesus.  They have been taught differently here so they don't really believe that they can go to God through Jesus.  Teaching them this changes their lives.  It is amazing that as we talk with people and ask them if they have Jesus in their hearts so many say no and that they want to receive Him!  Glory!!

Our evenings are spent at home typically.  It is nice to come home to our own place and have some down time together.   We have a snack, play cards, talk, and pray together before calling it a day.  We are tired after being outside waling and talking all day!

Tomorrow is the big wrap up event with team A from England.  We will be at the Breakfast Diner from 4-7 playing games, doing crafts, nails, hair, playing soccer - soccer or football as it is called here, is very popular and while we are waiting to go out ministering Liam, Evan and others can be found playing and before you know it there is a full 2 teams playing!  :)

We hope you are enjoying our updates!  It is good to write and keep this journal.  Thank you for your prayers!  God is truly at work here in San Felipe!! If you don't want to comment ere, please leave your comments or messages on duane's facebook.

Love from all of us!

Monday, 19 March 2012

DAY four

Day 4

Today was a day of meeting the San Felipites.  We met at the 'breakfast diner', a church-built building that is located on the outskirts of town. It's a meeting place for locals to come out and have breakfast. Lots of kids, teens and some adults come out to for food and for some learning about the love of Jesus. In a culture built on religion, the local church is building an outreach of teaching that it's not about doing, or about Mother Mary, but a relationship with Jesus Christ and that He is accessible to them!  This community shows God's love by going out and reaching into the lives of the townsfolk by meeting the people where they're at. 


Today we went out to talk and pray for people. We ask about meeting their needs by offering to fix things in their homes or pray for healing - physical, mental and emotional. We saw people in various kinds of living conditions but all in extreme poverty by our standards, yet they are proud of what they have and care for it.  We were able to pray for a family with a 23 year old paralytic, her mother and family, a man who accepted Christ, a mother and her young girl, her other two young teens, a family with a new 3 week old son, and a young 7 year old girl on her bike following us.  
What a privilege to speak life into the lives of these people!  Gods people!  They are so open to hear about Jesus.  We are constantly reminded of what is important in our lives.  Relationships and our walk with our Father in Heaven!  May God bless you all in your encounters.


Third Day

Packing for this adventure turned out to be a little tricky. Actually not the packing of the suitcases as much as the creative arrangements we had to make to fit them in the van. We were able to fit all of our own stuff into our luggage as well as a few big suitcases for the kids and people here in Mexico. We were quite pleased with how we fit in all the things we wanted to bring. Packing the van was another matter of course. I didn't want to put on the rooftop carrier because the van we were renting had none, and I wanted to make sure it'd fit!  So as it turned out, I did need to be creative in the van packing. Our bags were just that much too big to fit in the back as I'd hoped. happy to say, thought that the van we rented has deep storage containers and a couple additional storage areas.

The kids had lots of fun making the trip down to San Felipe. Before we left they didn't seem to uptight or nervous and I was wondering how they'd do on the plane, but there was really very little butterfly activity.  
When we arrived in LA, we had to change clothes at the airport to feel more comfortable! Needles to say it was a little warmer than 'sleeting in Seattle'. In El Centro, our second night's stop, it was nice and hot. we had snacks and a small dinner. The kids wanted to go into the outdoor pool, but it was still quite cool (temperature), and so we played 'dutch blitz' instead. 

Day 3 morning we packed up and I picked up the last Starbuck I'd have for  while. Dave and Beth showed up at about 10am, and we zipped down into Calexico (just north of the border) to pick up some groceries for the week. After that, and exchanging some cash for pesos, we zipped through the Mexicali border (and all the detours from roadwork in Mexicali) and drove through lots of new scenery for us.  We literally zipped through the border.  No stopping of answering any questions.  Lots of others were getting the red light but our van and Dave and Beth's car just got waved on through!  Praise the Lord!

Friday, 16 March 2012

San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico!!

Day 2
It all started with #3 commenting this morning on the hotel orange juice: "looks like we're drinking highlighter ink..."
We had a hoot getting to the plane and talking to people like Bob and Butch from Index, WA. Now that I know it exists, it sounds like a place I'd like to visit. Sorry Butch for bringing up LEGOland. (** insert longer story here**). Well then there was Holly from JetBlue Airways that helped us along and a sweet woman and her brother from Guatamala that gave us directions at a viewpoint along the i5.
After driving through San Diego and stomachs started growling, I thought that InandOut burger would be a great American treat. Of course once the navigator saw the place there was a quick alteration to the plans and we were back onto hwy 8 to El Centro (EC)
FRMs (Flatulent Release Moment)s were called frequently as we drove South, and windows were up and down all the way from LA to EC. Needles to say that FRM quickly turned into Flatulent Release Mode!
Day 2 was exciting and boring at the same time. Apparently 2hr driving stints are too long, even after last summers 8hr treks to Terrace. Wow guys...  Chill out.
We should also note that the hot tub here was fairly cool and the outdoor pool even cooler! Apparently from May to August there's absolutely no need for indoor heated when the temp outside is 120F...
Thinking about meeting Dave and Beth tomorrow morning and then heading to San Felipe together!!

Quick Note: we're one day behind making these posts. We ARE in San Felipe and will post again a little later... when we can get this wireless again.  

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Day 1 "send me on my way" - Rusted Root

Day 1
Victoria- missed the boat.
Vancouver- said good bye to my folks and watched the clouds roll in.
Seattle- beautiful weather at the border crossing followed by clouds then a wee bit o' rain then clouds very low dark clouds, sleeting rain and snow. Then almost blue skies again.
So far its looking kinda like the journey of life eh?

We talked to some folks at the hotel about the weather, checked out the extreme forecast for southern California and thought about life again.

How would YOU look at it? what is it you actually look at? Is it your problem or situation or your future?  You are also creating your own destiny by how you look at these times in your life.
I like to spend some time just putting the problem to rest. You know - drop it and let it go. No reason to hold on to it! I really dont want it. really.

So here's to moving ahead into the unknown, uncomfortable or the crazy.

I'm beginning to understand the crazy.

I might just go live there.