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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Children's Camps International

God is doing some exciting things here in Mexico. This past week we hosted four representatives from Children’s Camps International. CCI is an evangelical organization whose goal is to “Seek opportunities in the developing world together with indigenous churches/leaders to equip them to reach their communities with ongoing ministry that targets the next generation to fulfill the great Commission.” CCI works to accomplish this vision by establishing kids camps that are funded by small business which are operated by members of the local church.
CCI currently operates in 6 developing countries and they are expanding. One of the countries they hope to expand into in the near future is Mexico. The four representatives I mentioned earlier were here to meet with the local pastors and to inform them of their ministry and express their desire to expand their ministry into Mexico. They wanted to know if the local churches were interested in starting kids camps and if so, would micro financing be a reasonable means for launching small businesses to support these kids clubs.
On Thursday we had a pastors meeting here at the mission. Over 40 pastors from the surrounding community came; this was a major deal as there has been quite a bit of division among the local churches recently.  There were several pastors there who already have healthy kids camps in their churches, but there were a number of pastors who did not have kids camps. There was quite a bit of enthusiasm expressed about starting up more kids camps, but there was also concern that micro financing might not be the best way to go about funding those camps.
Over the next few days the men form CCI traveled around the community to meet with a number of these pastors to get to know them better and also to discuss more in-depth the ministry opportunities as well as the concerns.  I was privileged to be able to go along with them as their photographer.
It was exciting and encouraging to see all of the enthusiasm expressed in starting up kids camps but perhaps the most exciting thing for me was to see the local churches come together and work toward a common vision. CCI not only pushed for starting kids camps but they also stressed unity among the local church. Division among believers can be a powerful hindrance to expanding God’s kingdom. My hope and prayer is that through the work that CCI is doing the local church will be reunited.
A meeting between the locals church leaders and the CCI representatives. 

Between meetings one of the CCI representatives stopped to get his shoes shined. 

The shoe shining session quickly turned into a Son shining session 
as the men shared the Gospel message with the shoe shiner. 
He claimed to be an atheist but it was apparent that he also held some 
new age/eastern beliefs. We left him a Bible and encouraged him 
to read it. Please pray that the seeds we planted in this 
man's heart would produce a 100 fold crop. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Family Missions Trip

This past week was the most unique and perhaps most interesting week I have had in Mexico yet. The mission team that we hosted consisted of 5 homeschool families (10 parents and 35 kids, ages 1-10)
The majority of the ministry that we did with the families was through kids clubs. The families had practiced a number of songs in Spanish that they sung for the kids. Besides the songs, they had puppet plays and skits that they also performed in Spanish.
Here in Mexico the children are taught in the schools that the earth is millions of years old the same as they are taught in the public schools in the US. The major theme that the team had prepared in their kids club messages was that the earth is not millions of years old. This theme was illustrated in everything that they presented, from the worship songs, to the stories and puppet shows and even the crafts. Then at the end of each kids club they handed out Spanish coloring books that were put together frrm the creation museum illustrating the creation week.
Before and after ministry every day my time was spent hanging out around the mission with the team. Usually in the mornings we would do some work on the dorms and then after ministry the teenage boys would want to go exploring, of which I was often a part. We did all kinds of things from climbing mountains to hunting scorpions, giant centipedes and sea shells.
About half way through the week the hot water line blew in one of the showers.  Before we had a chance to finish patching the first leak a second one busted in the new dorm building. The next morning I woke up to find that a pipe beneath the office room had busted, flooding the office and spilling out onto the patio. This was followed by yet another leak in the new dorm building. Needless to say, the second half of the week was spent pulling back tile, chopping through concrete floors and walls and putting in new plumbing.  Due to the leaks we were also out of running water several times throughout the week which meant no showers and no flushing toilets. Thankfully however the team was gracious and understanding. (It is not uncommon to have a pipe blow a leak on occasion, however 4 major brakes in a week is unheard of.)

With the exception of one family, none of them had been to Mexico before and none of them had been on a mission’s trip. I always enjoy watching individuals grow over the duration of their stay here but this team was even more so. Perhaps it was due to the fact that so many of them were experiencing this at such a young age, an age where they are growing exponentially in so many ways. My hope and prayer is that this trip will have planted seeds in the lives of these young people. Seeds that will be nurtured by parents and that will grow into a passion to spread the Gospel into the farthest corners of the earth!
Prayer needs:
The general physical health of the staff here at Casa de Esperanza has been a little under the weather for several weeks now. Please pray for good health, strength and energy!
In a closing note: I am currently attempting to post a slideshow/video of this past week but am experiencing some technical issues with my computer. Lord willing it will be available in a day or two. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why Poverty?

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo a todos! (Merry Christmas and Happy New year everyone!) I had a good Christmas back in Michigan with my family and was back in San Carlos for the turn of the year. My New Year’s Eve was spent on the beach in San Carlos with my girlfriend, Laura, a mission team from Canada and all of my Mexican friends. (Laura came down from Alaska and spent just over a week visiting and helping around the mission) We did our own firework show right there on the beach. I had a blast as I was one of the ones in charge of launching off the fireworks!
One of my highlights from this week (Besides spending time with Laura) was after we had taken the missions team into the community of Fatima to do a food distribution. We went with members of the local church leadership and distributed food hampers to a number of different families. Most of the homes we saw were pretty run down. Roofs had had holes in them letting light into otherwise dark rooms. Windows were missing glass and doorways had blankets hung over them. Some of the houses had dirt floors. In one home we were invited in to pray for a woman who was bedridden with a cold. It was apparent that she needed to see a doctor, yet that was probably out of the question simply because the family could not afford it.  
When we got back to the Church several of us sat down with the pastor and began discussing what we had seen. He explained to us that the main source of income for the local community is fishing. When the fishing is good, everyone makes a lot of money. Recently however, the fishing has not been very good and for the most part no one ever saves up their money during the good seasons. They would simply rather live like a king for a few weeks out of the year and barley scrape by the rest of the time. For this reason when the fishing isn't very good, things get really hard. They run out of money for food for their families. Their houses get run down and no one has the money to repair them. People get sick easier because of lack of nutrition and poor living conditions and taking someone to see the doctor when that happens is not possible. It’s not that they don’t make enough money; they simply don’t plan ahead and save it.
One of the team leaders asked if promoting things like microfinancing, financial seminars or co-ops would be an effective means of helping the community. The pastor didn't seem to think so. He pointed out again that even when the fishing is good and people have money to spare they just spend it right away. He made the point that the only thing that will really change anything for the better is for people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. His point is a good reminder that although meeting a person’s physical needs is important, the value of addressing their spiritual needs cannot go over looked. Without their spiritual needs met, there is no lasting change.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Mathew 9:37-38) The people in Mexico are hungry for the Gospel. Please lift up Mexico in your prayers. Pray for unity among the local churches, that they will work together to spread the Gospel and make disciples. Pray for revival.