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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Mission On Fire

This week we took the missions team from Montana to a Kid’s club that is run by a lady named Maggie. Maggie is originally from Guymas Mexico, a city near San Carlos. She later moved to the United States where she raised three kids. After her kids were grown and out of the house she felt the Lord was calling her back to Guymas. She sold her house, packed her bags and moved back to a small rundown house that her mother had left to her when she passed away. When she got to Guymas, she used some of the money that she had gotten from selling her house in the states and used it to buy an empty lot right next door to the house that her mother had left to her.
 Since moving back to Guymas, Maggie has turned her house and property into a mission center. Her goal is to provide the children of the community a safe place to spend their time and also to teach them the Gospel. To attract attention, she offers English classes every day. Besides English Maggie also teaches the kids form the Bible and also teaches them how to worship God.
The English classes are held in a building which she constructed on the empty lot. Unfortunately there is not enough room in the building for all the kids who show up so three of the four English classes which she offers are held outside of the building. She currently has plans to build a 2nd story on the original building to offer more room for the growing ministry.
While I was there, Maggie gave me a tour of her home. She lives in a small four room house along with three other single mothers and their children who she warmly welcomes into her home. She shares her room with the three women while the children occupy the other two rooms. The kitchen sits just off her bedroom and offers just enough room to turn around in. For this reason a good part of her cooking is done outside.
When she was showing me her house, she mentioned that the roof has some major leaks. When asked about repairing the roof, she said that for now she wants to put all her money toward building the addition on the class building. The other reason that she doesn't want to repair the roof is because she has a vision for adding a second story onto her current home so that she can offer shelter to even more single mothers and abused children. If she repaired the roof now it would be a waste of money because she would have to take it right back off in order to build the second story.
The majority of the children who Maggie takes in and works with come from very broken backgrounds. Most of them have no father. If the father is involved with his family at all, he usually is very abusive. In many cases, the mothers are forced to choose between prostitution or dealing drugs in order to put food on the table for their children. Despite their broken backgrounds, it is amazing to be able to see the transformation that has taken place in these children as they are loved and learn more about the Gospel message.
Maggie made a strong impression on me. Despite all the comforts and ‘necessities ‘ that she has given up, Maggie is one of the happiest and most dedicated Christians that I know. She has given up everything to serve those in need and count’s it all as joy. The joy of the Lord is constantly radiating from her. Having the opportunity to work alongside her in her ministry is a truly humbling experience and challenges me to be more faithful in my own walk with the Lord.

Last but not least, the Lord provided me with an affordable flight back to Michigan for Christmas. Since things looked pretty slow around the mission I decided to take the opportunity to visit my family. I’ll be back in Mexico next week. Until then, God Bless and have a Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Divine Appointment

This week I want to share a story about how God used two of the other Missionaries here at Cassa de Esperanza. This story is written by Bryan Krahn. It is an amazing illustration of Prov. 16:9 "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
The following is written by Bryan Krahn. 

A Divine Appointment

Today was one day I will never forget. Today was the day that God had huge plans for a man named Manuel, a man who was a total stranger to me but through a series of events would become my Hermano en Cristo. (Brother in Christ)

Today started off as a normal day. My plan was to go with Juan Carlos to visit the community of Potom, which is a tribal village about an hour from San Carlos. Our intentions were to scout out the community and try to make connections with any Christian Pastors that are there. God has placed it on Juans heart to connect with the surrounding tribal pastors to find out how they are doing and offer them love and encouragement. Our plan was to leave San Carlos at 10 am but little did we realize, God had an agenda of His own for us today.

Juan and I decided that it would be best to drive dirt bikes down to Potom. I do not own a dirt bike so a friend of mine was willing to let me use his. I arrived at my friends place this morning to find that the bike's rear tire had gone flat. I knew that this was going to hold us up a bit but the guys got on it right away and before long the tire was fixed and back on the bike. Shortly there after Juan arrived and we were ready to go. I hopped on my bike to find out that the rear tire went flat again. Although this caused a bit of frustration, it also gave us a sense of opposition. We started to feel that "someone was trying to stop us from going." The guys got right at it again and half an hour later the tire was fixed and the bike ready to go. We suited up once again, Juan fired up his bike and I hopped on mine, and that's when I heard one of the boys exclaim to Juan, "your front tire is flat." Seriously??? How bizarre! Yes flats do happen here in Mexico but this was to bizarre. The guys, once again, quickly took off Juans front tire and a few minutes later found 2 holes in the tube. Ironically, we had two patches left and before we knew it the tire was patched and the bike ready to go. Listo! Ready! Finally we were all fixed up and ready to go, or are we? Once again, I hopped on my bike to find that, you guessed it, the rear tire was flat. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! What is going on? At the end of our wits and patience we clearly realized taking the bikes was not going to happen. This is just too bizzar! (fyi, the tires on both bikes were checked first thing in the morning and were full) We disappointingly resigned to the idea of riding down and decided to take my truck. The time was now after noon and if we wanted to make it home for supper we really needed to get going. Juan needed to drop off his bike in Guaymas (the neighboring city) so i told him I would pick him up there after I picked up a few things from home. Off he went. A few moments later Cole and I left in the pick up on route for Guaymas. As we merged onto HWY 15 we see Juan on the side of the road waving at us. We pulled over and guess what we found out. Now his rear tire was flat too! Ok, that is 5 tires. What is going on and what are we going to experience in Pottom? We loaded up the bike inside my truck box (had to lay it on its side because of the topper) and off we were to find a place to get it fixed. We quickly stopped for a bite to eat and then after stopping at several shops we found a place that could fix the tire. Long story short, we were all fixed and ready to go at 4:45 in the afternoon.The idea of just staying home crossed our mind but Juan and I quickly realized that God had a plan. Neither of us had peace with giving up on the journey.
We had a great evening in Pottom. We were there the entire evening, connected with several Pastors and were even invited for a true Yaqui tomale supper. Lets just say it was a good experience. Although there was allot to share about our time in Potom, like testimonies of how the radio program has impacted them, I wont take the time to share them in this story. The whole purpose of this story is to share about what happened on the way home. The events of this evening have left me heartbroken, reminded of Gods goodness, and reminded of His timing. He reminded us that He is in total control and that He will use those that are willing to pay attention to His promptings.

On our way home Juan and I were talking about the bizarre series of events of the day and wondering what the purpose was. Why had we been delayed for so long. Was it dangerous for us to be hear earlier in the day? Was it Satan trying to stop the meetings from taking place? What was it all about? We experienced great connections with new Pastors but we still didn't feel like that was the purpose for everything that happened. Juan simply stated, "maybe we wont know before heaven." I thought about it a few minutes, looked at Juan and found him fast asleep. Cole also sleeping in the back seat.
Ready to get home I stepped on it, my hwy speed down here is rarely under 130 kms per hour so I set my cruise and got comfortable. Maybe 15 minutes down the road the strangest thing happened. I cant put it into words. I saw a man, sitting in the ditch. He was surrounded by long grass but he was in a clearing. He came so clearly into view. It was like he was a beacon or like a spot light was on him. He was way down in the ditch. To this moment I can clearly see his face as he sat there. Clearly in distress, waving on of his arms in the air. (Remember, it is pitch black outside, and I'm going 130, I only saw him for a second yet it felt like 10) I started slowing down and woke Juan up immediately and told him what I saw. We pulled into the ditch and started to make our way back to him. We were shocked as to what we found. This man was in agonizing pain. His leg and arm very clearly broken. I was trying to make sense of the scene. How did he get her. I assumed there must be a motorcycle here somewhere, he must have slipped of the shoulder and rolled it? As I looked for the bike Juan looked at me and said, "Brian, he was hit by a semi trailer!" I looked at the man in shock thinking that he should be dead. We tried and tried to call an ambulance but we had no cell reception. Car after car drove by, no one stopping to help. We soon decided we had to get him to a hospital. Knowing the danger of moving a person in that state we reluctantly lifted his broken body into the back of my pick up and slid him in. Juan sat with him in the box and i closed up the topper and sped off to Empalme. In Empalme I found a Police cruiser on the side of the road, pulled over and told them what happened. They escorted us the the Hospital. From there he was in their care. We did everything that we could and now it was time for someone else to take over.

I took a few moments outside the Hospital to recap everything. Clearly this was the reason for the delays. God knew this man would need Juan and I specifically to pick him up. No one else would do, He wanted us there. Wouldn't you know that as I was rushing this mane to the Hospital, Juan was in the back of the box with Him sharing the message of salvation and forgiveness. There in the midst of his agonizing Pain, in the back of my truck that man accepted Christ as his personal saviour! I believe with all my heart that each driver that passed him never saw him there, God opened my eyes to see him so that Juan could share Christ. Wow! After all the delays, the frustration, and the confusion, God revealed why he needed to slow us down. He wanted to open the door for Manuel to receive Christ as his savour and ask forgiveness for his sins. As I stood outside the truck with Juan and we went over all the details tears rolled down our faces. God had a Divine appointment for us today. An appointment that required us to leave home at 4:30 not 10am. Required a truck and not motorcycles. One that required a Christian, not an ambulance attendant. God needed someone to meet the spiritual need of Manuel as well as his physical need, and he chose Juan and I to meet it. What an Awesome God we serve!

It was decided that Manuel would be transferred to Hermosillo. After he was prepped and loaded into the ambulance Juan had the opportunity to say good by. When he saw Juan he recognized him and said look, "here is the man that saved my life." Juan smiled and said, no, "God saved your life."

What a day. Juan and I are both exhausted. I'm so glad that we were persistent and went even though we felt like staying home. I feel horrible for the frustration I felt during the day when things were not going the way i would have liked. But tonight, I'm so full of joy knowing that Heaven has a new resident to prepare for. Angels are rejoicing, Gods will was done.

All Praise and Honor to Him!

ps, sorry, i quickly wrote this out and didn't bother with much of an edit. please forgive my writing, it is a weakness of mine but I really felt i needed to share what happened today.


Monday, November 26, 2012

                One of the big projects this year at Casa de Esperanza is the completion of a new dorm building. The building is two stories tall. The first floor consists of four bedrooms, each with it's own bathroom. The second floor will be a complete staff living quarters. Right now most of the staff are staying in campers. Once the new dorm is complete, not only will it allow Casa de Esperanza to host larger teams, it will also provide more comfortable living quarters for the staff. 

               We hosted our first team of the year this weekend. We divided the team into two groups. The first group painted all four rooms on the ground level. The second group helped us wire all the outlets, light switches and light fixtures as well as run the plumbing and main electrical lines to the building. After the team left I spend the rest of the week laying tile in one of the rooms that they painted.
                Prayer requests for this week:
-          Please pray for me as I am working on my Spanish. I am taking online classes as well as receiving tutoring form my roommate, Omar. Pray that as I learn new words and phrases I retain what I learn so that I can be more effective as I work in the Mexican communities.
-          Please pray that as we reach out to people that their hearts would be open to receiving the Gospel.  
-          I am currently searching for ministry opportunities to get involved with in my spare time. Pleas pray that the Lord would direct me in that search. 

My roommate plastering the outside of the new dorm building. 

Me laying tile in one of the new dorm rooms. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Messengers in the Mountains.

                Wow! The last two weeks have flown by. When we finally arrived at the mission center in San Carlos on November 7th, we stayed only one night before taking off on a trip into the Sonoran mountains, along the Sonora/Chiwawa state border.  We spent a week partnering with several other missionaries, pastors and evangelists, showing the Jesus Film in five different communities.  After we showed the film we fitted the older people with reading glasses and handed out New Testaments to everyone. 
We were able to pray with and encourage a number of people during the trip. One in particular family who we were able to encouraged stood out to me more than the others. In the third village where we showed the film, the pastor’s wife had left him and his 18 month old son. On top of that, the men of the village threatened to beat him and drive him out of their village if he didn't leave on his own. They also threatened to tear down the walls of the church which he was building. Still, he was faithful in ministering, preaching the Gospel and constructing the church building. We went to the construction site of the church and prayed over him and the community. Later that day His wife returned home after being gone for two months. Our team was able to pray with them both and encourage them.     
We planted the seed of the Gospel in the hearts of many people throughout the week. Now it is up to the local pastors and ultimately God to cause those seeds to grow and produce fruit. Please pray for the local pastors as they go about this task. Pray that they would be faithful in their work and see God move mightily in their communities. 

Several times I had the opportunity to play soccer with the kids. This helped to calm them down and pay better attention during the film.
We handed out Bibles to a group of cow boys who were taking a midday rest from cattle branding. 
Fitting people with eyeglasses and handing out Bibles. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jesus Film

              Hey everyone! We are in the Mountains of Sonora right now showing the Jesus Film. It was quite the drive out here on back mountain roads. We had a little mechanical trouble with  the RV, but thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious.  Please pray that we will be able to make it out again with out any more trouble.
               We have shown the Jesus Film  in two different villages already. Last night I was able to play soccer with the kids for about an hour before we showed the film. We had a lot of fun. After we played they all sat attentively and watched the film.
                Every time that we show the film the pastors share the gospel and then we pray with people and hand out Bibles to everyone. We also give out eye glasses to the older people who can’t read otherwise. Please pray for open minds and hearts as we continue to share the Gospel. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ready Set Go!!!

                After three days on the road we finally got into San Carlos late last night! We unpacked and are getting ready to leave within the hour to go on a bike trip near Hermisillo Sonora. I didn’t find out about the trip last night. I was reminded of something my ABI instructor, Matt Nobel, would say over and over in regards to being on the missions field.  “you must bend and not brake!” got to go, bye! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Final Perpetration's

               I have enjoyed my short stay in Michigan and am now preparing to fly to Bozeman Montana tomorrow morning. While I was here I was able to get in touch with family and old friends. I was also able to get out and ride horses and go hunting for white tail deer, both are activities which in enjoy doing but have been unable to do for quite some time. I was even able to be  an extra in the upcoming independent/Christian film: “Beyond the Mask.” My stay has been very enjoyable, relaxing and encouraging.
                Lord willing, I will meet up with Art and Brenda Koenes in Bozeman. Art and Brenda run a farm in Montana during the summer and Casa de Ezperanza during the winter. From Montana, we will drive to Mexico.
                As I begin to make last minute preparations I am excited and looking forward with anticipation to the upcoming months. At the same time however, I am beginning to get nervous. 6 months in a foreign country can be a long time! Please pray that I will not give way to any fears or doubts that might arise. Pray that I will have boldness and confidence to do what God has called me to do during this season and that I will do it with all my heart.
Thank you and may God bless you!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On My Way

        Well, I am finally on my way. I made it to Michigan safely. I will be here visiting friends and family until November 3rd. On the 3rd I am planning on flying to Montana where I will meet up with the missionary couple. Form there we plan to drive to Mexico. Please keep me in your prayers as I travel. Thank you all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saying Goodbye

 There are many mixed feelings as I begin my final week here in Alaska. I have made many close friends her over the past three years, and it will be hard to leave them. At the same time, I am excited about going home to Michigan and seeing my friends and family there before I fly to Montana on the third of November. 
Prayer requests:
Please pray for me as I am preparing to make a number of transitions. Pray that I would be able to make them smoothly and not lose my focus on my relationship with God . I know from past experiences that during the excitement of transitioning that it is easy to lose focus and allow other things to take the place of my time with God. Please pray that I overcome this temptation during the upcoming weeks.
It has been a fairly busy summer and I feel exhausted. Pray that during the next two weeks I will rest and be refreshed and ready to go by the time I get to Mexico!

Monday, September 24, 2012

About Casa de Esperanza

    Casa de Esperanza or House of Hope is a mission center located in beautiful San Carlos, in the state of Sonora, Mexico with the purpose of encouraging the local Mexican evangelical churches with the help of their brothers and sisters from churches across Canada and the US.

   Every week Casa de Esperanza hosts short term missions teams form the US and Canada. These teams are housed and fed at the mission. Each day, they are taken by the staff into the surrounding communities where they perform various forms of ministry according to their skills and talents. Ministry opportunities include:
·         Construction projects
·         Children's clubs
·         Food hampers
·         Clothing distribution
·         Medical clinics
·         Wheelchair ministry
·         Street ministry
·         Basketball camps for youth
·         Cooking classes
·         Teaching English
·         Assisting at local orphanage

   For more information on Casa de Esperanza, visit their web site:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Step of Faith

    In 2007 I went with my youth group, powerhouse, to San Carlos Sonora. We were hosted by Casa de Esperanza or House of Hope. This was my first time on a mission trip and I loved it. We went to orphanages and did puppet shows and skits for the kids and did clothes distributions and even painted playground equipment.
    In 2009 my youth group went back on a second trip and I jumped at the opportunity to back a second time. This time while I was there, Brenda, the missionary, asked me if I would consider coming back the following year as an intern. I had already decided at that point to go to the Alaska Bible Institute that fall/ winter.         
   After three years at ABI, this spring I graduated with a diploma in Biblical studies and Christian ministry.
    As soon as I graduated I contacted Brenda to see if I could still intern with Casa de Esperanza. After several months of waiting and praying, I finally got accepted for the position. The timing couldn't have been better. I had waited to hear back from the mission as long as I could and had gotten to the point where I felt that I had to start making decisions on what to do with my winter/ fall months. When I finally heard back from the mission with the news that I had been accepted, it was a day before I was planning on committing to a new job as well as ministry opportunity here in Alaska for the fall/ winter. I believe that the timing was a God thing!
   Right now, I am planning on finishing up the landscaping season here in Homer before going home for a week or so at the end of October. (Yes, grass does grow and we still have to mow it here in AK!) From Michigan, I am currently planning on flying to Bozeman Montana on November 3rd. In Bozeman I will meet up with Art and Brenda Koenes.
    Art and Brenda live in MT where they spend their summers farming. In the fall, they move back to Mexico and run the mission in San Carlos during the winter. When I get to Bozeman, the plan is that I will help them drive their vehicles down to Mexico.
   Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare to head to the mission field. Pray specifically that I will use this next month and a half to prepare myself mentally and spiritually for the challenges that I will face as I take this next step of faith in my journey with Christ.