Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning, we got up bright and early, ate breakfast:

returned to get ready for the church service, and-were locked out.
Our dorm door normally has a little schtick about opening, and we had to push pretty hard, but even Janelle couldn't force it open.
Some following ideas:
"Let's go into town and hire a burglar to burgle our dorm for us."
"Let's drive a van through the door."
"Let's make Jackson climb to the second-story balcony and open the glass door."(Tried that, didn't work)
"Let's break a window."(They said they didn't want to pay for the window)
"Let's pray"(Go, Gloria!)

We we did was dither around, get scolded for yelling, and then called off to go get our team picture taken. Ain't it lovely:

Like I said, lovely.

When we got back someone had unlocked our dorm. sigh.

*That day we found out that the Village 2'ers had a habit. Whenever they saw a stray dog, they yelled "It's a dingo, mate!" in the FUNNIEST Australian accent. I know it sounds random, but it's FUNNY, trust me. I still keep up that habit.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Pause for a moment while destiny calls

I can't believe we have two more movies to go through before the Twilight saga is blessedly over. I wouldn't mind quite so much if it was just another vampire movie. But it's just the cultural phenomenon that it's inspiring. All that goth makeup, and clothes, the fangirl squeals over you-know-those two -guys, people running around pretending to be vampires with special powers....??????
I think the root of this is the same root of whatever drives little kids to want to be princesses.  Or superheroes. Or (sobs) Jedi.  Deep down inside, we all want to stand out, be different, live a life that's different from everyone else. We want to escape the ordinary and live a life that has adventure and excitement(which a Jedi does NOT crave, by the way.) We want to make a difference and outlive our lives.
Too bad that only happens in the movies. sigh.
No, it doesn't.
God doesn't call us to a life of boring ordinaryness. You want to live a meaningful life? Good, that's what you're made for. 
Pray and live, and you'll see that you're made for way more purpose and adventure then you have. If you've been reading my past posts, you'll see that some amazing things have happened to me!
No matter how old or how young you are, God calls, and has called you to action every single day, sometimes in seemingly little ways.  Are you listening? God has an amazing destiny planned out for each and every one of us. But maps can't force you to follow them.
Destiny calls. Will you follow it?

*Like this post. I just randomly got the idea to create this post, and I wasn't doing anything at the time, so we'll see where it goes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Nice Blessedful Rest

The lights at Rancho Agua Viva have the annoying habit of turning off every night, exactly at 10:00. About 30 seconds before they turn off, they flicker, and then it's a mad dash to get to your beds before the world is plunged into darkness.
On Friday, we spent after dinner getting ready for Saturday, and were nowhere near ready for bed when the lights went out, and had to spend a while shuffling around with flashlights.
Today we got a little more time.
Ministry being exhausting, we welcomed time to hang out in the evening. We had half an hour of free time, which I spent washing my beloved REI pants, because I unwittingly splattered pink paint on them at the construction site.

The beautiful outside of the chapel.


For every single meal they had a different flavor of Tang. Tang is a flavored drink that has many flavors. For the first meal, we had a kind of cinnamon-flavored tang that was um....exquisite and ridiculously sweet. I drank water for the rest of the trip. The tang in this picture was (supposedly) Hawaiian-Tea flavored. Oh my. I continued to drink water, and proceeded to make tang jokes for the rest of the trip.*

I got the paint off my pants.

*Tang's Wikipedia article says it also makes a great dishwashing liquid. Yum. Yum. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sports Ministry, Saturday, Part 2

So we decided if it was going to be a snack break, we would obviously require snacks. Luckily, we had several boxes of animal crackers and juice boxes and licorice, and there weren't that many kids, so we had enough for the kids and the moms who were watching!
Thank goodness we had translators to help us get everything together.
We started with the story of Job. We picked some volunteers from the crowd to hold paper-cutouts and help us tell the story.
  We told the story, and Melissa translated, and the kids acted it out. Luckily we had some sort of a stage.
The moms, at least, seemed to like what we were doing. It was amazing to me. They were listening intently, without a sound, to the story we were telling. They listened better then a lot of people back here.(sorry.)
See that little girl with the juice box? Her name is Jasmine and her mom's name is Sara. She's 3 years old, and she's adorable! (She's also Hannah's sister.)

Our purpose was to explain the Five Purposes(Cinco Propositos) that God put us on earth for.
They are the same ones used at our church. Worship, Belong, Grow, Serve, and Share.
That's what we did after the story.
Holding up Pertenecer(Belong) and explaining it to the crowd. We said something like: "If your are in God's family you aren't ever alone, because God is protecting you. God want's everyone to be in his family."
Behold the Cinco Propositos! From left: Worship, Serve, Belong, Grow, and Share. We had them recite it in Spanish: Alabar, Servir, Pertenecer, Crecer, and Compartir.

This is the Bible verse: "Ama al Senor tu Dios con todo tu corazon, con todo tu ser, con todo los fuertes, con todo tu mente, y, amo tu projmo como a ti mismo."
Lucas 10:27.
Too bad you can't see the verse clearly on the poster. Try and guess which verse it is. We had them recite it as a group, then individually. Whatever kid recited it individually without looking, got a licorice.

See? We had hand motions, too. 

Two kids gave their testimonies. I think we touched our audience. There was a lady reciting the verses with them.

Look at their faces! Sometimes I wish I could just go back and bring them all back across the border. 

The pastor of La Vina gave a short salvation message. And 4 kids publicly said they wanted to receive Christ! I'd never seen anything like it before. If there was a highlight to the trip, that was it. I'd done ministry before, but I'd never seen such an immediate impact.

We gathered around them, and prayed for them.

Pastor Rudophl(that's his name, IDK if I spelled it right,) invited them to the church. I don't know if they went. Some people want to know if what they do really makes a difference. It does, all right. I saw it in the faces of these kids. 

Sometimes I think about them, in their run-down city, and wonder if their lives are any different now that they've accepted Christ.
I wonder if they will follow through on their commitment.
I wonder if their newfound faith will help them resist all the temptations of the city.
I wonder if God will help take some of the pain out of their lives.
I wonder if they'll ever have a chance to make a difference in the world. I wonder if I'll ever hear of them, and I wonder if I'll see them in heaven.

Whatever happens, it's in God's hands now. We planted the seed. They're just little kids, and Mexico near the border is a big, dangerous, place, but God is an even bigger God, and he's got them in his hands.
Please pray for all the kids whose lives we touched that day, and those we didn't as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Afternoon Sports Ministry, Saturday, Part 1

That afternoon was pretty busy. We had lunch with the church we were serving, La Vina, and then we prepared our soccer sports ministry. It was at a big, sandy-and cement park. We started off by just kicking soccer balls around.
As you can,(or maybe can't) see, whoever was the goalie took a real beating. (We called it the torture pit.) The park was right next to a downhill road, so whatever soccer balls went over the net rolled down the hill and had to be chased. Some people didn't want to kick soccer balls, so we played other games.
We had a organized soccer game too, complete with yellow jerseys(for the yellow team) and invisible jerseys.(for the no-jersey team.)  Before, Matthew and Andrew led everyone in stretches.
Emmett on the sidelines. The girl to the right, with the long hair, is named Hannah.

Starting lineup and explanation of rules.

Run for it! These kids were tough. Almost nobody got hurt, despite the fact that they enjoyed bouncing the ball off everybody's heads.

Of course we attracted attention, and Juan was great at introducing people into the game.

The dads did a great job of announcing the score every couple of minutes(siete-ocho!), but I completely forgot which team won. Perhaps because I was too busy planning the ministry part to follow.

On the premise of a "water break", we got everyone off the soccer field and gave everybody snacks.  We did a ministry, which I'll tell you about later.

More later!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mexico Trip: Roberta's House

That's Roberta's house. The yellow-ish one. With the yellow broom hanging against the door. See that pink thing to the left of it? That's her bathroom. The team that came before we did built it. 
She lives in a neighborhood of houses just like hers. It's a big neighborhood too. There are a couple hillsides filled with slums just like that one.
 Another view. You can see the slope that she lives on. It was pretty darn steep, too. I actually twisted my ankle that morning and limped for that day and the day after that. She lives in the house with-get this- 5 kids. See that kinda concrete-ish platform in front of her door? We built a roof and walls for it so we practically doubled the size of her house!

 Carrying wood down the hillside to build the walls. We had some building people to build rafters for the roof and walls, and some painting people to paint the wall boards before they were carried down. Since I couldn't climb up and down all that well with my ankle, I mostly stayed up the slope painting.

 Painting the wallboards. Bright pink is Roberta's favorite color, so that's what we painted her house.
 Painting the original house.
My dad was on the rooftop nailing the rafters in.

More pictures:


This is the inside of Roberta's house. It looks bigger in this picture than in real life.

More later,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Manda Lluvia! Rancho Agua Viva

Rancho Agua Viva is a kind of retreat center, where we stayed.  It's motto is "Reaching Mexico for Christ." Its ministries include: hosting American mission teams(like us), having seminary for pastors-to-be, and having summer camps for Mexican kids who can't afford it. The dorms and food were really nice! The campus was large and beautiful, with dirt roads and streams and frogs and fields and animals.
Visit the Agua Viva Facebook Page here:  

 You can't really see it, but the white rocks say "Agua Viva."
Hannah talking in the Chapel/Seminary building.
These big rooms had doorways leading into bedrooms. Our dorm was the only one with couches. :)
Emmett and Daniel in one of the bedrooms.

Look how nice the place is!


More Later,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Manda Lluvia! Scenic drive down Baja California coast.

Even after we got across, there was still an hour and a half or so to the place where we were staying(Rancho Agua Viva). It was a lovely drive down the coast. The scenery and ocean were lovely! Not a cloud in sight.

The Tijuana Arch. If you look closely, you can see that the strings are holding a Welcome to Tijuana sign.
 What a lovely coast:

You aren't able to see all of the photo, but the blue fence across the hill is the Mexican/American border. On the other side is San Diego.

We're in Ensenada now!

Sometimes it felt like a vacation, but seeing this brings you back to mission work. You'll see a lot more things like that later.

More later,