Thursday, November 27, 2008

So, It's Been a While...

But there was a good reason:

I got married last Monday and have used this as an excuse to take a blogging break (but no more!). I was fortunate to have most of my mom's side of the family attend and participate in the ceremony - they are scattered all over the world, and so any kind of reunion happens about every 10 years or so...

Congratulations also to Matt and Heather on their marriage last week!

And Happy Thanksgiving. Even though we are going through difficult times, every day we can find something to thank God for. As part of El Calor practices, often the players each have to state something they are thankful for. The most common response is, "I thank God for one more day of life." Sometimes we don't think very much of this gift - we look around and say, "But my job, my mortgage, the economy, my health..." but it is through God's grace that we are here, living today, and each day he gives us is another opportunity to grow closer to him and glorify him through our lives.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
H.U. Westermayer

And though I ebb in worth, I'll flow in thanks.
John Taylor

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,
and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Student Sponsorship 2008-2009

To finish off this series of posts about the 2008-2009 Student Sponsorship Program, here are our university students, along with two special students. Many of our university students have been in the sponsorship program for some time, and it is thanks to your help that they have made it this far. For $30/month you can help one of these 6 students pay for tuition, books, and other costs.

Azucena Muruaga: Azucena is studying Business Adminstration in San Pedro and working part time. She is one of the most faithful young adults in the church, participating in youth outreaches and tambourine ministry.

Timothy Tolman: Timothy is in his first year of Civil Engineering in the city of Torreon, having entered university this year at the young age of 16.

Pedro Mejia: Pedro has made it to university through the help of sponsors. He is in his second year studying architecture and is a worship leader in the church.

Elisa Tolman: Elisa is currently in her second year studying International Business in Torreon. She also keeps a full complement of church activities, including tambourine ministry, small group leader, and teacher.

Juan: Juan is currently working as a farm labourer and wants to be a mechanic, but can't afford the tuition. His family hosts one of our weekly home churches.

Cesar: Like his brother, Juan, Cesar works as a labourer but want to study to be a mechanic. His family is not wealthy, but are some of the most generous people we know in the church.

Special Students

We have a new family in our church who is faithful, hardworking, and extremely poor. The mother and father are working towards their primary school equivalency certificates so that they will be able to find better jobs. For $25/month, you can help provide a brighter future for this family!

Pablo Vazquez Amparan and Maria Rivera Jimenez: Married with 3 young children, this couple have few material possessions but are rich in the kingdom of heaven because of their generosity and willingness to serve. They are eager to earn their primary school equivalency certificates and provide a better life for their daughters.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Student Sponsorship 2008-2009

Continuing with our students for 2008-2009, here are our secondary students and high school students who need your help! There are 5 secondary students (at $25/month) and one high school student (at $30/month) who you can support, with donations going toward inscription and registration fees, clothing, books, and supplies.

Secondary School

Jesus Mejia: Jesus is one of three brothers whose father committed suicide several years ago. His mother is raising all three boys in the church, and Jesus is a testimony to his classmates.

Xochitl: Xochitl (pronounced "Zochil") is a new member of our church but is active in the youth group and is growing in her faith.

Peter Tolman: Peter is in his second year of secondary school and is making a great effort to continue earning top grades.

Karen Lopez: Karen is the oldest of four children in her family, three of which are in the Student Sponsorship Program. She is active in youth activities in the church and serves Jesus joyfully.

Marely Lopez: Marely just entered secondary school and is one of the hardest-working students we know. She is also an excellent soccer player.

High School

Maria Rosario Ramirez Campos: Maria is in her last year of high school and hopes to attend university to study gynecology. She is one of 8 children in a single-parent family.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Student Sponsorship 2008-2009

For several years we have organized a Student Sponsorship Program here in San Pedro to aid children, youth, and young adults achieve their educational goals. There are many families who can't afford some or all of the costs associated with schooling, and we ask that you help these brothers and sisters by giving their children a brighter future. Here are our primary-level students this year:
  • Laura Vazquez Rivera: Laura is one of 3 sisters from a very poor family who recently started attending our church. She is very sweet and inquisitive and always ready to help, even at her young age.
  • Dulce Vazquez Rivera: Dulce is Laura's sister and she just entered school this fall. She always accompanies her parents when they come to church activities and when they work around the property.
  • Poncho: Poncho is a new member of our church and attends faithfully every week along with his older sister. He is a hard worker and does his best in his school.
  • Willy Lopez: Willy enjoys attending children's events in the church. He has learning difficulties but will work through them with help from God and the church family.
  • Pedro Castellanos: Pedro has been in the church all of his life, as his mother is a church leader and part of the worship team. He just turned 8 and is learning to work hard in his school.
  • David Mejia: David lives with his grandmother, after both his parents left several years ago without explanation. He attends church faithfully and is an excellent soccer player.
For $20/month you can help one of these children work through primary school. Your offering will be used to pay enrolment fees, school uniforms, and supplies. Write to if you would like more information or would like to help. Offerings can be sent as normal giving, but please designate "Student Sponsorship: Name of Child".
Slide 5

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Here are some pictures taken today from the highway between Torreon and San Pedro.

The land as it usually looks.......
A house unfortunately built in the river's path...

A retaining wall of dirt along the highway...

A factory surrounded by trenches and sandbags. I saw them start this work on Tuesday morning, and it was finished by Tuesday night...

A field of cotton.....

A juvenile detention center.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Hi all,

Sorry about the lull between's what's been happening in San Pedro:

-Stephen is traveling in the States, all the way from Virginia to Texas. He will be traveling until the beginning of November, so please keep him in your prayers.

-El Calor played their first game of the season on Saturday, winning 5-0. This week they will be playing in Torreon on Saturday afternoon.

-We are experiencing flooding here in the middle of the desert...sounds strange, doesn't it? Many years ago a large river flowed through this area (hence, it is known as the Laguna (lagoon)) but the river was dammed and now the only thing we have in abundance is dust...we have experienced substantial amounts of rain this year and the dam filled up past its safety point, so the government decided to allow a controlled release of water to bring levels back under control. Traveling along the highway between San Pedro and Torreon, you see cars pulled over at the side of the road and people just standing and looking at the water - actually, the crowds started when the news just came out about the flood, and for several days you could see people just standing in the riverbed, waiting for the water to arrive. Last week the water level seemed to be going down, but this week it is up again, and yesterday we heard that the water might reach San Pedro. This happened about 15 years ago, and I am told that San Pedro became an island, with the surrounding fields and roads covered in water. This morning as I drove to Torreon I saw backhoes and trucks with sandbags and people out digging trenches and building walls to protect their homes and towns from the water. Returning at night I saw how much the water had advanced - in some places it was nearly at the highway, and several houses were flooded. I arrived at the house and Peter presented me with an escape plan:Please pray for our safety as we travel through the path of the river, and pray that the waters would not bring destruction to the region, but instead bring blessing and abundance.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. (Isaiah 43:2a)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

End of Summer

On Monday we said goodbye to our last summer group, who came from Texas to spend the weekend with us. They participated in our Friday night church service, the Saturday morning children's breakfast, an outreach in the village of San Rafael on Saturday night, and both services on Sunday.

Making balloon shapes for the children at the breakfast...

Sharing a testimony in San Rafael, and the crowd of onlookers...

School starts next week for most children here, and many universities have already begun classes. Timothy's first day of university was yesterday, Elisa begins her second year of university in two more weeks, and Peter will be homeschooled this fall as he enters Grade 8. Also, the Id Pues missions school will be opening September 1. Please keep all of these in prayer, joining with us in asking God to use his children and young people to spread his love in their schools, and wherever they go.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Christ Church Nashville Visit

We have just said goodbye to a wonderful group from Christ Church Nashville who were here for 9 days and who participated in various outreaches and projects in San Pedro and the surrounding area. Their visit started off with the bus breaking down on their way here from the airport, but thankfully the week went smoothly after that!

Here, practicing dramas to perform at the rehab center, and pictures from the service.

At the children's breakfast ministering, handing out food, and painting faces.

Then, we went to the first preseason match of El Calor.

The last couple of days were spent painting the outside of the church.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Project and Ministry Pictures

Here are a few pictures from this week: the children's breakfast, which got rained out, believe it or not!

Also, a service at the Torreon rehab center...

... and pictures of the new sidewalk outside the bathrooms on the property...

...and the new garbage containers built by the group here this week from Arkansas.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grace Center

This week we enjoyed a visit from a group of more than 30 youth and leaders from Grace Center in Nashville. They arrived very early Wednesday morning after a delay at the border, but the rest of the week went smoothly. They worked on several projects around the property, fixing roofs and painting buildings, and also saw some of San Pedro. They ministered at both rehab centers and at the children's breakfast, as well as in our regular church services. On Sunday morning 12 of the youth were baptized, along with two people from Templo Cristiano Libertad.