Monday, February 1, 2010

All we can say is thank you so much for all your prayers!!

All we can say is thank you so much for all your prayers!! God has showed himself so clearly and brought us through the difficult circumstances we went through. We have learned a lot about being apart of a community and what that means. We have seen how God has met our needs in ways we couldn't even imagine. God used a hard week to bring our team together as they worked hard, amazing to see their love for each other! We are sure that this is through your sacrifice of time to pray and give to the ministry here. God is so good and we are thankful to be God's servants here, willing to be used by Him.

God's timing and His plan can only be from Him, we continue to shake our heads in amazement. Last week 2 bridges south of us were washed out and it was not possible to go south of San Vicente. A group from Alaska was planning on going to an orphanage down south, found out about us and on Sunday showed up ready and willing to do whatever we needed. They went to Fransisco's and repaired the roof damage and moved two dump loads of dirt to secure the retaining wall. Then went down to the boys home and fixed the roof and worked on the dry wall damage. The ladies did to many loads of laundry to count and cleaned the kitchen thoroughly . They helped pour our foundation for the new apartment complex. The Big Bear team that was scheduled to do the foundation was unable to make it, so between the group and our pastors it all got done. Praise God!! God's plans are not always our plans, and He knew exactly what we needed. The pastors stayed all night after the cement was poured and kept smoothing out the cement. To our amazement all of the pastors rallied together to get this done and done well.

Update on Jamin's community, the road is still not passable. They think at least another week or two. The government has brought in trackers to move the dirt and water. Jamin's family has walked through mud and water to get into their home, there was little damage to their home or church. Praise God! The pastors have bonded together, it has been great to see them grow together. It has been a sweet time, loving on each other, helping whenever someone needed something and serving each other. During the storm, we had two days of dinners at our home for all the pastors and their families. They came together like little kids, sharing stories of their communities and how God was at work.

Through this storm God also brought a couple from Moses Lake, Wa. They were going to be with us only for a few days, but plans changed when the road was washed out south of Ensenada. They jumped in and helped us in many ways. Gene was able to go to Paradise for two days and help put up a wall on one of the churches that collapsed, he also fixed some things that needed to be fixed at our facility. Gene and Starlene get up early each day to help put out breakfast and get lunch ready. This has been a huge blessing for us. Also, one of the members of the Big Bear team who lives in Los Angeles, was able to make it down. Jim was a huge blessing, not only taking wonderful pictures and video, he pitched in and helped get the team where it needed to be. He was willing to do whatever needed to get the job done. We are so grateful for all of the people God brought along our path, just when we needed them.

Please continue to pray for us as we will need to continue to fix things at the boys home, so that they can return. This Sunday our first group arrived to start building the first floor of the apartment complex. Pray for wisdom as we need to make changes to the apartment complex. The Mexican government does not want us to build a three story building (after the last storm). We have a couple of options; pray that God will direct and that we will be wise in what way to go. Thank you all who wrote encouraging words, who prayed and those who gave. Please keep checking our facebook page we will be posting pictures and video so that you can see what is going on here in Maneadero.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Thank you so much for all your prayers, our pastoral team thanks you all as well. The pastors are all fine and their families. I will try to update you the best I know at this time, things change hourly, including the weather.

Since Sunday, Southern California and Baja Mexico had 4 major storms come through our area. These storms had a lot of rain and very strong winds, at times up to 80 miles an hour. By Thursday in the middle of the night the winds hit the strongest, with a major amount of rain. In Santo Tomas the wind was so strong it ripped off the roof of the boys home, where the boys sleep. Fransisco's family came to our home at 4am for fear that their roof would come off their home, and their home was leaking in three of the four rooms. Around 8am Jamin phoned, his family was stuck in their car as the water was rising. The military asked the families to leave, because the river (I never knew there was river!) had crested. Rick, Fransisco and Reynario left to go rescue Jamins family. The road was higher than waste deep with water, they were unable to go down. The fire department and search and rescue went down to get the families out. Jamin left with all the his kids and Jarib's, Jarib refused to leave. They had to walk through waste deep in water to be rescued, they showed up at our home with only the clothes they had on that were wet and some without shoes, and distraught. Imagine Jamin ( a man the size of Tammie) wearing Rick's clothes, VERY FUNNY! They are not sure if they will have a house or church to go back to. An hour later Sergio went into the community to rescue Jarib and his wife. In the early evening Ricardo's community was evacuated and later allowed to go back. Our apartments now have the boys from the boy's home and our second floor has a family that was evacuated. Our home is home to Jamin's family until the water goes down (hopefully by Sunday).

All areas that are at sea level have been flooded! Today we have no idea how bad Reynario's community or Jamin's community really are. It will take a few days for it to dry out. Today is the last day of the storm, at times it rains really hard and at times there is a beautiful break in the sky. Faustino and Ricardo's communities are fine with very little flooding. The road to Ricardo's is dangerous, many boulders have fallen from the mountain above and not sure if it will wash away. All of the fields are flooded, and many of the dirt streets are filled with water. Fransiscos church has major damage with due to water on the dry wall. All of the shingles on Fransiscos house flew off, causing water to enter his home as well.

Our first group arrives Sunday to start building the apartments for our groups. We need your prayers, for direction and wisdom. Depending on what the damage will be, we may need to look after the churches. PLEASE pray with us that the waters go down and that the houses and Jamin's church were spared damage. We need to help Juan with the boys home roof. Pray for money that somehow what we have will be multiplied, we do not have significant funds to repair the damage. We know that God is in control of all things, and He has a plan much greater than ours. Join us in prayer as we seek God's direction for the Ensenada Project. Continue to pray for the people of Maneadero, many do not have houses that will have made it through this series of storms.

We will update you this weekend as soon as we know how the communities made out. Thank you again for all of your prayers, we are grateful that we have internet (at least at times) so that we can communicate to all of you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We need your prayers for ALL that is taking place, GOD IS SO GOOD!!

We have been home a month now and enjoying reconnecting with our team down here! It is always great to go on tour and see so many of you and share what God is doing here in Ensenada. Our hearts are here and it feels so good to be home and back at work. We have been busy meeting with each of the pastors and their families, sharing what God is up to in each of our lives. Casting vision for this year as we walk alongside our friends here. God continues to amaze us, it is such a privilege to be His servants and we are humbled to be used by God. Please stand beside us in prayer that we would continue to seek His face, and that we would be wise in decisions that need to be made here. The enemy comes in and wants to destroy, pray that our team will be strong and rise up and overcome the enemy. As we returned home we were very encouraged by the growth in the pastors, and how they have come together in unity. The pastors were joyful and excited to share with us what God is doing in their communities.

The second week we were home Jamin had a city wide worship service at his church. Ten different churches were represented from the Manaedero area. It had rained the whole day, they were expecting 300 people to come, even with the rain a 150-170 people showed up. The church was so full, you couldn't walk in the church without people having to move out of the way. Even twenty or so stood outside in the cold, rainy weather under a tarp. The pastors in the community will meet once a month at different churches to worship together.

Ricardo and Rosy had an evening for just married couples, Francisco and Jamin's church were invited to share in the evening. It has been great to see the pastors come together. The district superintendent, Roberto comes down to Ensenada once a month to encourage and train the pastors in the Alliance. Roberto has a lot of work to do, but he has been very encouraged with the progress each of the pastors are making. It has been an adjustment for each of the pastors to come under the a denomination, culturally this is not easy for them to have to submit to authority and be held accountable. This is very important that the pastors understand and are willing to go through the whole process so that they will grow as pastors. Pray for Roberto as he is leading the pastors, he has an incredible amount of understanding, but I am sure at times it is very testing.

This last weekend our family and Francisco's family went to Mexicali. We went to church with Gustavo and Francis, first time we had been back since Vegas had constructed the church. They are a church full of life, growing and sacrificing together. Their church was broke into in the summer and their sound system was stolen. Gustavo had to adjust the one mic they have several times throughout the service. It didn't put a damper on the service, they continue to be thankful for all that God is doing. Part of the reason we went to Mexicali was to visit a cell church Francisco has started outside of the city. We met in one of the families home with another family, they were excited to have started the cell church. Francisco has a vision to plant churches in the Mexicali valley. At this time he is meeting with this cell church once a month and hoping to train up a pastor in Maneadero to pastor his church, so that he can move his family to Mexicali. He has four solid families in this cell church, with a vision to reach those who do not know Christ. We are excited to see what God has ahead in Mexicali. As we drove home we were filled with awe at how God is moving, it was a great trip to Mexicali. Only wishing it wasn't so hot in the summer so that we can visit more often.

Our plan is to break ground this January to build our facility to house groups. God placed an amazing man in our community who has graciously given us land (right behind Tacos El Pablanos, how convenient). At the end of January we plan to lay the cement slab and over the month of February we have three groups who have committed to help build the NEW apartment complex. Pray for us that the funding and the help need to put this up will all come together. We are very grateful for the sacrifice each of these churches are committing to, not only the money but the time to come. As the mission has grown we are now in a place that we need to have a facility that is our own. We are moving ahead and trusting that God will give us just what we need and when we need it. Sometimes it is not always the way we think it should be, we are grateful for all who have surrounded us with support. Please pray for us as we move ahead with this huge project. If you would like to see what the apartment is projected to look like, please check out the ensenada project on facebook. Also, there are new pictures of Gustavos church and the work on Rafa's cement pad for a church building.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Very soon we will be home and finished our speaking tour!

It has been sometime since we have been able to write a blog. We have been on our speaking tour since the first of September, speaking in different churches. We have been able to spend some time together as a family, and with our parents just hanging out. We have found this time to be very refreshing and energizing as we look forward to going back to Mexico. One of the fun ways we have been able to keep in contact with the pastors and friends at home is through Facebook. Who would of thought that this would have been a great way to stay in touch? While we were gone someone tried to break into our home, and our alarm scared him or her away. Two weeks later Sammy left a message and told us that the robbers came back; he then paused and with a sweet voice said, "just kidding".

Over the past month we connected with several groups that have been down on a short-term experience. We have enjoyed the opportunity to go to the churches that have partnered with us to share our vision with the whole church. Two weeks ago Princeton Alliance Church brought us out to New Jersey to be apart of a concert to raise money for the boy's home. The Refuge Concert was a fundraiser to help Juan plant a church in the city of Ensenada and a youth center. They were able to raise $20,000; praise God! God is so good, we are grateful to be able to do more work to further God's kingdom! At the end of our time out east we were asked to speak at the Metro District Conference. It was a great time of hanging out with our friends and we were able to make some new connections in the district.

We returned to Canada (it's really cold here, it actually snowed last night and we don't have heat in the vehicle, we might have to get it repaired.), spending time with family. This past Sunday, to our surprise Abby and Moriah joined Rebekah and their cousin Paige singing a Spanish song in front of church and Rick was able to share in his brothers church, this was a special time for his parents and brother to hear of what God is doing in Ensenada. One of the things that surprised us was the amount of Mexican brothers who were at the church. We had a great time after the service eating traditional Mexican food and listening to a woman sing Spanish songs. Reminded us so much of home. How our friends love food and having fun together. Who would of thought we would have found a little of Mexico in Canada?

A couple of things that have happened since we left Mexico: Fransisco called a few weeks ago, asking Rick if he would continue to partner with him if he goes to Mexicali to plant three churches. God is moving and stirring in Fransisco's heart, please pray for Fransisco, as he needs to work through the details. Fransisco needs to find someone to lead his church in Maneadero, Aposento Alto. Last week we received an email from Juan, he was excited to share with us that he had been given land, in his words "very beautiful land" for a girls home. God is doing amazing things, we can't wait to go home and start getting involved.

We have just a couple more weeks till we go home; please continue to pray for us as we are traveling. We have spent much of our time seeking God and His direction in what He wants us to do this year. God has been putting many of the details together with a facility for our groups. Our hope is to start in late December, early January pouring the cement pad and begin building in January. We have been encouraged to have groups who are willing to come down and work hard to get this done before our spring break groups. Pray for us, if this is truly Gods will that every thing will come together. If you would like to be apart of this, or know of men’s groups that would like to build this apartment complex we would welcome your interest.


Rick & Tammie

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finished for the summer! Now on speaking tour!

Our summer is finished!!  However, mixed with relief and sadness, it was a great summer once again.  Lots of new faces, and lots of faces from friends who have returned.  Year after year, as we look back,  we rejoice in seeing God's light shine through each person.  Thankful for each child who heard a message of hope.  Thankful for each member who loved on a child, who gave sacrificially to build a home for a family who had nothing.  For the team who worked extra hard to get a church built in a week, so the people had a place to worship.  When you see all that God's people did in a summer it fills us with awe, the love and compassion that each person shared.  Thank you to each team who came and blessed the communities here in Ensenada!
Two weeks ago we had a week of three different churches who worked alongside us.  It continues to amaze me how churches come from all over and join serving together.  During the week they built two houses in the El Zorrillo area.  One group from Massachusetts built a home for a widow and her children, this was a connection through Faustino's church.  The other home was built by a group from San Fransisco and a group from Ohio.  Last week was our last group of the summer.  This was Georgetown Alliance's 4th trip, every year they book our last week of the summer.  They are always a huge encouragement to us, I always feel bad because by the time they come we are pretty exhausted.  They built a home for a family from Ricardos church, did ministry in Jamin's community each day, and celebrated a party for all the children in all 5 churches.  Whew, and on top of that we were able to celebrate the one year anniversary of the boy's home.  Tim graciously spoke to the children and Jersey Park and preached at the boy's home in the evening. 
This summer was filled with many memories and stories.  We were very grateful for all who came to serve for longer periods of time.  Thank you, Kourtney Burris, Casey Trask, Sarah Roney, Stephanie Borelli, Dan Zak, Jack and Sharon Ninebar (and family), Jamie DeBruyn, Cass McCarthy, Kevin Namur and Todd and Suzanne Slind (family).  Thank you each one for the sacrifice of time and money to come alongside the Ensenada Project and serve.  It is not always easy working with groups week in and week out, we could not have done what we did without you.  The sacrifice of taking the garbage to the dump, getting up early preparing breakfast, preparing lunch and delivering it to each site, leading VBS, prayer ministry and worship, buying food everyday and spending most Sunday's cleaning tools.  This summer went so much smoother with willing help and generosity of each one of these servants. So, a BIG THANK YOU goes out to our team this summer!
Continue to pray for us as we leave for two months speaking in churches every Sunday.  Pray that we will get the needed time of rest, but also a good time to connect with churches.  Here is a schedule of where we will be over the next 2 1/2 months:
Sept 13 Mt Vernon, Ohio
Sept 20 Shelton, Wa
Sept 27 Medford, Or.
Oct 4 Elma, Wa.
Oct 11 Princeton, NJ
Oct 18 Pine Hill, NJ
Oct 25 Edmonton, AB
Nov 1 Pittsburgh, PA.
Nov 8 Las Vegas, NV
Nov 15 Prescott, AZ

THANKS for PRAYING while we are on tour!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The last leg of our summer has been an interesting one!

The last leg of our summer has been an interesting one.  God has taught us in unique ways how to continue to depend on Him in all that we do.  Three adults over the last three weeks have visited the hospital and needed an IV to rehydrate their bodies.  Several people have struggled with the normal Mexican symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.  Come to find out our pure water filter hadn't been changed by the company for a year.  Two of our daughters and I ran to the hospital for fear they may have had the swine flu, just to find out it was a cold.  As Rick has been sharing in the debriefs, coming to Mexico is a step of faith.  It is not taking the "safe" route.  God shows His power even through the times we're not sure what is going on, or why everybody is getting sick.  There doesn't seem to be an easy answer, but one thing I continue to realize, God shows Himself through every circumstance.  We have an amazing God who we serve.
The past three weeks have been a stretch for us, they have been made up of several different groups each week.  Starting in August we had 5 different Churches represented.  Two from North Carolina, one from L.A., one from Redding and a lady from Tacoma, Washington.  With each group coming together to finish Reynario's church, painting Jamin's church,  putting an extension on Pastor Faustino's house and building a home for a family Reynario knew.  All this in one week and each group sharing with the children in all five churches.  Because there were so many we were able to visit each church three times during the week.  It was crazy to organize, but incredible to see more and more kids coming each day.  In Fransisco's church there were kids who had been coming to the VBS's, and through that a family became interested in coming to Church.  Fransisco got Casey to bring a prayer team by their home, and were able to minister to the family. 
The following week three different groups from Wisconsin, New Jersey and Redding, California came.  Again we were able to pour a lot of time into the communities with VBS.  The encouraging thing is that we can see lives change and grow as groups communicate God's love.  Two groups were able to work on two pastor's homes.  Todd Skinner's group built Pastor Fransisco's home on top of the church (beautiful view of the city and ocean).  Lee Cha's group put on an extension for Pastor Ricardo's home.  The night before the group arrived, Rosi and Ricardo had a baby girl.  And Bob Riconda built a home for a family in Pastor Fransisco's community.  Again, all this in one week!! 
In a matter of two weeks 8 different churches got to taste, touch and feel the mission field.  Our prayer and hope is that this will ignite a deep desire to go home and live sold out for God.  That this would not only be an experience for Mexico, but that the work begun here would continue at home.
Todd Skinner's group sitting in front of Pastor Fransisco's house.

Rosi sitting with her new baby girl!
Lee Cha's group doing a VBS at Pastor Faustino's church.
Pastor Bob's group moving wood and getting ready to work.

Pastor Bob's group gave a Bible to Juan & Sofia along with there house warming gift.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Amazing couple of weeks being involved in His ministry!

We've made it through over half of our summer, lots of amazing stories of what God has been doing here and many answers to prayer.   Our team was tested two weeks ago with the biggest group of our summer.  We were a little nervous how things would go with 81 people building, eating, sleeping and getting to know each other.  It was an amazing week as we looked back on how smooth everything went, and were able to build relationships.  Princeton Alliance had a hefty schedule with the amount of building they wanted to get done.  They managed to get a second story on Pastor Reynarios church, built three houses (almost finished all) and an extension to Pastor Jamin's house.  The hardest part of the week was the amount of people who got sick.  Not from the swine flu!  All week they passed a virus that ran its course through just about everyone, at the end of the week even knocking out our team.  Through it all, God's light shined through each member in two communities, and in each church they shared the love of Jesus.  God continues to do work in the hearts of many who have come down, it has been a great encouragement to hear the stories of changed lives.  One member of the team, Kevin, planned to stay with us for a month.  It is has been our joy to give the opportunity for those who want to seek God's will to stay and serve God for an extended time.  We look forward to seeing how God will use these opportunities to shape and mold the interns who have served here.  We are grateful for the sacrifice of time and finances it takes to come and stay for a longer period of time.

During the week I was driving our car on one of the dirt roads, the car felt like it had a flat tire.  I got out to check and didn't see any tires were flat.  So I continued, I went onto the highway and soon realized I had no control of the car.  After pulling over Stephanie and I went out and looked under the car, and the control arm to the back tire had snapped.  Thankfully, I was not driving on the highway very long.  I realized very quickly how God had taken care of us in a very simple way.  As much as I hate the dirt roads, I was so thankful I was driving on one at that time. 
Last week we only had 38, it seemed so small.  But, great things happened!  Michael Alcorn from Moses Lake, Washington brought a group in to do our first youth ministry week.  God was at work in a great way.  Each day around 40 youth came from all 5 Alliance Churches.  They played games, worshipped together, danced before the Lord, listened to testimonies and heard a message prepared by youth (and Bill).  The week ended with a huge youth rally at Pastor Jamin's.  Over 120 Mexican youth came out, both groups of American and Mexican youth along with many adults came to worship together (probably close to 200 in total)!  Rafa brought in a band from Mexicali, all cultures came together worshipping and dancing together.  Michael challenged the youth, and they all came forward to put Christ first in their lives.  It was a great experience ministering to the youth.  Jeudy and his team from California joined the Washington group on Monday afternoon.  They spent their time ministering to the children in each of the churches, and finishing up the houses from the week before.  They were willing hearts wanting to do what ever was set before them.  One of the greatest moments was seeing both groups, and the youth from Ensenada up front on Friday night arm in arm worshipping the same Lord in two different languages. 
God's mighty name is being proclaimed throughout this humble valley.  Pray for us that we will continue to seek God's face in all that we do.  Pray that we will be a strong light shinning to our neighbors (all 20 of them below us), the hot dog guy (Julio) and Carlos who owns the neighborhood corner market.  They know who we are and what we do, our prayer is that we will be a reflection of Christ in our words and actions.

Reynerio's church at the end of the week!
Kevin & Nicoli working hard!
Princeton getting ready to pray and hand over the keys to a family.

Having a meeting with the Princeton group at the orphanage.

Youth ministry on the beach, some really enjoy this part of ministry!!

1st day of youth ministry with Moses Lake group up at Pastor Fransisco's group.
Moses Lake youth worship team at the youth event on Friday night.
Teens worshipping & dancing unto the Lord!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our summer is so crazy, crazy good, but crazy

Our summer is so crazy, crazy good, but crazy.  This year has been such a blessing to have a group of interns around us that have been willing to do just about anything.  (Even take the garbage to the dump!)  On top of that, Todd and Suzanne have jumped in and helped in crucial areas. Making sure food is bought, helping Tomasa and leading at the job site.  This has been wonderful to have some of the holes filled with able and willing hearts.  Also this month a family from Canada came to serve together as a family.  They have been such a blessing to Rick and I to have them in our home, working side by side and jumping in wherever needed.  We have had our challenges learning to direct each of our helpers, but overall it has been a huge blessing to have each one of them.  Pray for us as the ministry has grown, there have been a lot of changes.  Not bad, but changes that requires us to continually seek God and His wisdom on direction. 
We are so thankful for each team who brings unique gifting each week.  At our team meeting last night there were several comments on how three groups came together last week and united as one.  Jimmy Hull, Jimmy Donaruma and Fred Chamber each brought a group of young people eager and willing to be lights in two different communities.  All three came together to do a VBS in each of the churches.  Each group sharing the same stories of how God worked in amazing ways.  God answered prayer in simple ways, like starting a generator!  They could of taken it in to get fixed, but instead prayed over it, and it started (saving valuable time).  The last day at VBS having only 50 crafts and 66 kids show up.  God multiplied the material.  In another instance a man share with Jimmy Donaruma's team that he felt they were Christians, and asked them to pray for him to find a job.  And moments later returned to them, amazed God answered prayer.  All three teams came together to build two houses for families who could not afford to build a home. 
Jimmy Donaruma's team stayed another week, joining others from their church Long Hill Chapel this week.  It has been great spending the extra week getting to know them.  They are working in Faustino's community building three houses.  One of them is an outreach house.  Faustino has been ministering to one of the members of his church family.  The parents come to the church, but their son has been in prison, and has been released.  Faustino and the group have been sharing God's love with the family.  Pray the family will be able to see a reflection of  who Christ is.  It is exciting to see God at work in simple ways, we are humbled to be used by God.  
One of the comments that has come often, is how safe they feel here despite the news reports.  We are so thankful for God's protection and the peace that has given reassurance that everything is fine here in Ensenada.  We are so grateful for the groups who have come and were able to serve our brothers and sisters here in Mexico.
Please continue to pray for our team as we are heading to the half way point of our summer.  Two of our interns leave this Saturday, and each weekend we will continue to have interns return home.     Thank you for praying, our dependance is on Christ alone to do all that we are doing.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Our summer has already started with two groups that have come and gone.  Last week Andy Stumbo brought a group to work alongside the Alliance and another ministry.  Bethany Alliance has a burden to work with special needs children, and right down the street from our home is an orphanage who ministers to children with those needs.  They started work on a dormitory for boys who live there.  It was amazing to watch the group interact with the kids, love on them and just spend time with them.  The group also spent three of their days doing a VBS at Fransisco's church.  God uniquely put together this team, one of the members was from Mexico City, she grew up with Pastor Andy's wife.  Rumi, flew in from Mexico City to join Andy's team.  It was great to have national people travel on a missions trip to Ensenada, with the same purpose reaching those who do not know Christ.  The second group was from Wisconsin, they had open hearts willing to do God's work.  Pastor Tony's group built a home for a family in Fransisco's community.  They poured their hearts out, showed compassion and worked hard to make Christ shine in all that they did.  They shared God's love in four of the other churches by doing a VBS.  The group also shared  with three of the boys at the boys home, and spent some time praying over the ministry here.  Part of the fun we have is when we get to celebrate birthdays, Tony's group had three in one week.  We enjoyed celebrating with each of them the traditional "mordita" (take a bite out of the cake), meanwhile someone behind them shoves their face in the cake.  (Thanks for all the fun!)
One of the most exciting things that God is doing here, is the time that we are able to focus on prayer.  Over the past few months, we have felt Satan is attacking the ministry.  And as he attacks our faith has been stretched, pushing us even closer to Christ.  Through this experience we have realized that not only do we need to spend time in prayer, but the groups are enjoying the time in prayer.  This year we have added several different prayer times.  Before breakfast our team along with the pastors and some of the group members start the day off with Him, and every day there is an opportunity for a couple of group members to go into a home and get to know the people and pray for them.  This is a unique opportunity to get to know the people and connect with them in prayer.
Please pray for us as we make decisions throughout the summer.  Our passion is to glorify God in all that we do, seeking His will in furthering His Kingdom.  We know that this is His ministry and continue to be so grateful to be His servants here in Mexico.  Pray for us that our eyes will be set on Christ and be wise in the decisions that need to be made.

Pastor Tony's group lead a VBS at Pastor Reynerio's Church 

Pastor Andy's group lead a VBS for 3 days at Pastor Francisco's church

Pastor Andy's group help construct a dormitory for orphanage

Pastor Tony's group during lunch break

Pastor Tony's group huddling up for prayer before lunch

Monday, June 8, 2009

God is in control of ALL things!

God is good all the time, and ALL the time God is good!  We like this saying, because it reminds us that God is so good!  We say it often how greatful we are to be God's servants here in Ensenada, Mexico, even with all the supposed violence and the pandemic swine flu (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!).  We are just coming through a time that has been very difficult, there has been a great deal of challenges and refining of all of us, and through it all, God shows Himself to be in total control.  Each day we continue to seek God for His wisdom, in His ministry not ours.  Pray for us as we have to make difficult decisions, that we would be wise in coming alongside the National church in Mexico.  As the ministry grows there is a great deal of excitement, but at times it can be very difficult, we were talking last week how much easier it was with only one church.  Now we are apart of 8 church ministries and right now we have a team of 5 interns and 4 missionaries.  Our prayer is that our eyes would be fixed on Jesus, seeking His will in all that we do. 
Princeton Alliance Church sent down a college group with Matt Murphy, they built Jamin's church.  Under the leadership of one crazy leader, Steve, they built the church in 5 days.  Not only did they build a church, but they built a relationship with Jamin and his family.  The last day the group and Jamin's family prayed for the community, and for the leadership to be a shining light, God is so GOOD!  The first service in the church was filled to capacity about 150 people were there.  The  NEW District Superintentant (Roberto) came down from Tijuana and spoke, and all the pastors came in support of Jamin.  Of course the celebration would not be complete without a meal together.  After four hours and two plates of birria, it was a great day of celebrating what God is doing and going to do in Salitral.  THANK YOU JESUS FOR ALLOWING US TO BE A PART OF YOUR MINISTRY IN ENSENADA!
We have a tradition twice a year here in Ensenada, in June and in November.  The Baja off road race, some of the pastors and all of our team go and watch the off road race.  We enjoy watching the race together and eating Carne Asada mixed with dirt flying through the air.  It is a great time of just having fun together.
Thanks for continuing to pray for our family as we serve God in Ensenada.  Please pray for us as we get ready for our busy season, our first group comes June 20 and our last group leaves August 31.  Pray we would have enough strength and stamina to get through the summer season, and pray for health for the whole team!

Jamin's church finished!

Princeton group with Pastor Jamin in front of his new church!

First church service in the new building!

Pastor Roberto New District Superintendent

Monday, June 1, 2009

One thing we have learned living in Mexico that there is never a dull moment.  I think this is one of the reason we love living here so much, the Mexican culture keeps you on your toes.  Mother's day tradition in Mexico is at midnight, people who love you and care for you come by and crank out some really loud music, and no one minds, because it is a tradition.  They serenade the mother with a traditional song and the most important part is that I get out of bed and greet each of the members singing to me. 
The other surprise was on our anniversary, someone Rick had a meeting with found out it was our anniversary.  They were so excited that they gave us a goat (a live goat).  Two days later, the pastors killed and dressed the goat for a traditional meal of birria.  On our anniversary we went out for a nice meal and came home to a surp
rise party thrown by our kids.  They called all the pastors, Slinds, interns, and our Spanish teacher to celebrate our anniversary. 
A  couple weeks ago the Short term missions office had their training for all the interns for the summer 
at our facility in Ensenada.  We enjoyed hanging out with the interns and the leadership team. 
We had the blessing of Ezekiel (president of the alliance in Mexico) come back and visit us once again.  Ezekiel has a heart after God, and loves speaking and encouraging the pastors and we love it when he comes and does it! While he visited us he assigned a new district superintendent over our area.  Please pray for Roberto, he has been pastoring in Tijuana, and now will be pastoring the pastors.  
The pastors seem very excited to have Roberto in this leadership role!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last spring break group & our spring break!

It has been another very busy month!  The last spring break group left three weeks ago, the
y were from Kourteny's home church.  It was a great experience for us to see Kourtney lead her home church.  They spent the week working in Faustino's church (this is the church that Kourtney has been spending her time with).  The group put in a side walk alongside the church, mostly to help the church not get flooded when it rains.  They also put up drywall in the back classroom,  a long over due project.  One of the encouraging parts of the week was seeing the VBS consistently have 50 kids come and hear about the heroes in the Bible.  Kids came and came to know the Lord!

As soon as Kourtneys home church left, our family, Sammy and Leyda left for Washington. Rick was apart of a wedding of a former youth several years ago.  One of Leyda's dreams was to go to Canada.  We took a couple of days out of our week to visit Canada.  Leyda and Sammy had grins on their face the whole time.  We spent both Sundays in church speaking on what is happening here with the ministry.  Tammie's home church invited us to speak on the first Sunday we were up north.  Dan graciously invited Sammy and Leyda to share a couple of songs.  It was important to us to have them share, because it brings the two cultures together.  Thank you Pastor Dan for giving them the opportunity!  The second Sunday we were invited to go back to the last church we served in, in Kelso, WA.  It was great to reconnect with friends and church family at East Hills.  We are so grateful for their support, and thankful that we could share a few moments at each service. 
As our week ended up north, Mexico hit the news once again.  Many told us about the swine flu, at which we were taken by the news.  We spent most of the ride home speaking to groups who had concern about coming.  We are not sure what is going on, but one thing we do know; the enemy is on the prowl and will use fear to discourage groups from coming.  Sammy read for us Psalm 91, what a comfort and reassurance that our Lord is in control and will protect us from all dangers.  We have a sense that God is up to something amazing, here in Mexico.  We are so grateful that God has chosen us to be His servants here, we want to follow his call, and look forward to what God has ahead for the ministry here in Ensenada!  
Todd, Suzanne and Austin Slind followed us back to Mexico. They have answered God's call on their life to come as Christian workers here to Ensenada.  As we were driving down, Rick phoned Todd 
and asked him, "it is not too late to turn around, are you sure you want to come?"  without hesitating Todd said, "we are coming!"  Please pray for Todd and Suzanne and their son Austin as they have stepped out in faith (both financially and physically).  Pray for us that we would have wisdom in dealing with the news that Mexico has been hit with.  It isn't always easy to step 
out in faith, but I know our God is so much bigger than all this news.  He has plans and we want to be apart of that.  

PLEASE pray for the groups that have committed to come, that they would have wisdom and clear direction in coming down.  And pray that whatever happens this summer, we can continue to be used by God.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ministry in Mexicali!

Every day it amazes us
how God is in control of everything.  A little over a week ago we loaded up the pastors, interns and our family for Mexicali.  We were met a group there from Las Vegas for a week long trip.  As we pulled out of the second floor we noticed the lights on the trailer did not work, we tried everything.  From there we made our traditional gas stop at the same gas station before we left town.  As we loaded up the vehicles our mechanic came from around the corner, we told him about the problem and he fixed it.  Praise God!  Two days into our trip Sammy got a call, his dad passed away while we were in Mexicali, Sammy's dad was from Mexicali, as hard as death is, it was God's timing that Sammy was there and he could be with his family.  And all the pastors and our family and friends
 from Las Vegas could be there to support Sammy during the burial. We went to support him, Pastor Jamin actually was asked to give the message at the burial, Sammy asked him when we pulled up to the cemetery.
We had a great week with the team from Las Vegas, they built Pastor Gustavo's church.  This was a stretching week for us, a lot of firsts.  We had never done a VBS there, we had never stayed there and had to learn where Home depot and Costco was.  It all worked out, the kids loved the VBS, each day you could see them grow with excitement to learn.  I don't think any of us got lost, we 
had a good time hanging out in Mexicali.  The team from Vegas and our team from Ensenada stayed at a hospital in a beautiful compound 20 minutes outside of Mexicali.  We learned a lot about the pastors, especially the fact that they really like mornings and they wanted to make sure we all knew they were awake.  We were grateful for
Neal and his team, they were flexible and willing to make a change from Ensenada to Mexicali.  They poured a lot of time and love into this new community we are working alongside, we hope to bring more groups to Mexicali.  The pastors from Ensenada poured a cement floor in Mexicali for another church!  Not sure when we will build the next church in Mexicali.
While in Mexicali Tomasa got really sick, please pray for her.  It is really hard for her not to be able to cook as she is recovering.  Pray for Sarah, the group that came to build Gustavo's church was Sarah's home church.  As much as she loved having them here, it was
 painful for her to say goodbye.  And last week Kourtney had her home church in Ensenada working in Faustino's church.  Pray for Kourtney as I am sure it will be equally tough on her to say goodbye. 
I have been able to sit back and watch the interns take control and lead their home churches.  I am so proud of them as they "shine like stars"  serving the Lord.  Even though Casey's home church is not able to be here, I have been encouraged to see  her take on a prayer ministry with the groups. It has been exciting to see her desire to encourage the groups with prayer.  Each of the girls have been stretched and it has been so encouraging to see them grow in serving the Lord here in Mexico.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

God Continues to do Amazing Things!

First off, we are totally amazed at how the media is blowing things out of proportion in terms of safety.  We totally feel safe and secure here in Ensenada.  In fact we feel safer here in Ensenada than we did in Washington State, go figure!  Praise God, He continues to have his protecting hand upon his servants in Mexico!

We are excited to have our first spring break group, they came a couple weeks.  Owen Sound Alliance Church painted two of the churches, moved a huge pile of dirt, put up a fence around Ricardo's church and built a roof for a lady in lower Durango (all this in one week), THANK YOU OSAC!  This was a special week for us, Rick was the youth pastor several years ago at this church.  Now one of the former youth, is now the youth pastor.  It was a great experience to work alongside Greg and the team from OSAC.  Many of the youth that came were little kids when we left the church, they were not quite in the youth group.  It was a blessing to see these kids grow and be strong followers of Christ.  This year we have started some new ministries, one of them was a prayer ministry.  One of the leaders or pastors from each of the churches, a prayer team (lead by one of our interns, Casey) and a couple from the group go and visit a family. They spend time getting to know them and pray with them.  This has been a  great ministry, and seems to be a great encouragement to the churches. Another ministry is with our new church plant.  Pastor Jamin has a band and are called "El Trio", they have a mini concert for our groups.  It was a lot of fun, even the other pastors got involved. 
At the end of this week, a church from Big Bear California joined us.  Their plan was to build the retaining wall for Francisco's church, but as usual plans in Mexico don't always work like we think they should.  The group was gracious and willing to do whatever we had for them.  15 men (skilled laborers) poured a cement slab for the new church plant in Saliteral.  The next day they went to the boys home for a youth event.   It was amazing to see all of the pastors get behind Rafa and Isai, it was an amazing youth event.  There were 100 youth praising God!  Three of the youth were from the boys home, I was able to see one of the boys come to know the Lord that day.  One of the greatest moments was at the end, they asked all the youth to go forward so they could pray with them.  Each of the pastors prayed for each of the youth at the event.  It was amazing to see 15 men who could mix cement, and build a cement floor in a day, serving food to each of the youth.  There purpose in coming was to serve, either building or serving one another.  Willing to be used by God to do God's work.  The last day the men helped build a bano, a sidewalk for Reynarios church, and even poured the footing for the retaining wall at Francisco's church.
Gods timing is so amazing.  On the last day of Owen Sound, Becka cut the tip of her finger off.  Rick and I were returning from a meeting in Ensenada when one of our interns called and told us what had happen.  We met Becka, Nancy, Kourtney and Sarah at the hospital.  The doctor looked at her finger and felt that it would not be a good idea to do stitches due to where the cut was.  Unbeknown to me, the second group had a doctor with them.  Not only a doctor, but a fireman and an EMT.  God is so good, the doctor from the group said the Mexican doctor did the right thing.  Mike and Rick (not Rick Romano, because he probably would have passed out!)  helped me with treating her finger, and by the time they left it was looking better.  God knows what we need and when we need it, I continue to be amazed at how Great our God is. 

This next week we have a group coming from Las Vegas to Mexicali to construct one of our new churches. Please continue to keep checking up for updates and to see new photos!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

God Answers Your Prayers, THANK YOU JESUS!!

The other night we went to "El Pollo Mas Pollo",  the best chicken in town!  As we left the roadside chicken stand, Rick went to get onto the highway to go back to our house so we could eat dinner.  As he pulled out he realized he didn't have enough time to get across to the other side and so he pulled back off the road.  As he did that the truck that was speeding down the highway started to fish tail and then that truck hit another truck going the opposite direction.  We pulled over and Rick went to the seen of the accident with papers in hands ready to give to the police, because he felt he was at fault.  At that moment Rick asked that I call Faustino, because he wanted to make sure someone was there to giv
e him good representation and Kourtney one of our interns who could translate everything for him.  In Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent, and you go to jail until you can prove that you have insurance to cover all expenses.  So, Rick gave his paper work to the police when they showed up, and then a few minutes later Faustino & Tomasa showed up and asked what happened.  They made sure to tell Rick not to say it was his fault, he had a real hard time with that, because he felt it was his fault!  They asked him if he had his paper work, and he had already handed it over to the police.  So, they went and asked for it 
back, the police officer said they would hold it until the Federal Police came and determined who was at fault.  Rick was sure they would find him at fault and send him to jail.  The Federal Police asked Rick where his truck was and if it was hit, and because it wasn't, he was not at fault.  They gave him his license and insurance back and he was able to leave.  PRAISE GOD!!!!  Only by the GRACE of God was Rick saved from spending time in a Mexican jail!  As Rick came up to the 2nd floor, Rebekah ran over and hugged Rick and started to cry.  

A couple weeks ago the pastors met with two of the youth pastors to come up with a plan for youth events among the C&MA youth.  They now have a president of the Alliance Youth, Rafa will be planning a monthly youth event.  The youth pastors were encouraged that the pastors would support them, and help plan events.  Our hope and prayer is that this ministry will continue to grow, and the youth will have e
vents they would be excited to bring friends to.  Each of the churches are working on having a youth program with a youth worker.  They have youth workers in place, now they are starting to meet once a week in their churches.  
Last Saturday our son, Jonathon spoke to the youth at Francisco's church, Jon has been attending the youth group for about 10
 months now.  It was his first time speaking with them, he shared 1 Corinthans 15:33 .  Not only at Francisco's youth service, but after the service he went to Jamin's house.  Two other churches came together for a bon fire, he was asked again to share his sermon with them. 
Jamin and Reynario have been having joint services for a month now.  It has been a huge blessing, both of them are encouraged with what God is doing in Luis Mercado.  Last Sunday they had 47 adults and at least that many kids.  Jamin has been working in the area with a breakfast program every Saturday, this too was something that Reynario wanted to do.  It has been great to see how God has brought both of these men together being a light in Luis Mercado.