Monday 17 December 2012

Coro Unido

Yesterday, a group of us had the privilege to head to Puebla (which is about an hour from here) and went to the Coro Unido.

It is an amazing outreach to the local people where probably 1000 people are involved in some way... whether singing, acting, playing an instrument, putting up an incredible stage, etc. It is put together in an incredible way and the gospel is very clearly presented!

A lot of people heard the gospel and i pray that many people see the need for Jesus during this season!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Youth Christmas Party!

Today we had a youth Christmas party! We required them to help with prep and cooking etc this time. Most of them came and helped... much appreciated!

We ate.... played games... made gingerbread houses (that ended with a giant frosting fight) and a small concert! Good day!

A busy Friday!

Yesterday there were THREE events to go to... you know its Christmas time when you get to do that!!!

The first one was at a local school who asked us to come judge a English Christmas carol competition. It was a good time with lots of great carols!

After the event we all went out for breakfast at the golf club and home for an hour before we headed to the special ed school here in Jesus Maria! We have been extremely fortunate to have had the privilege to make friends with this school through the wheelchairs. We were able to bring them 10 more wheelchairs yesterday! We stayed through their Christmas program (theme: Shrek!) Anyways, it was great. The teachers there are incredibly hard workers with a heart for those kids. And the kids are so special! A few times i teared up. Rod also wrote a blog about it (and there is a video!). 

And finally on to the first church (in Santa Barbara) Tiffany and I have been teaching english as an outreach there every Friday. It was also the closing of their kids club. They had way over 100 families that came who got to hear the christmas story (and gospel!). We played a game with the english students that actually came... ate cake, drank ponche and had fun!

Yesterday was a GREAT day! 
Now off to get ready for the youth Christmas party!


A year end thank you from the president of Camino Global!

Camino Global - Year End Thank You 2012 from Camino Global on Vimeo.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Day of the Virgin

So tomorrow (December 12th) is the "Day of the Virgin". Rod wrote a little about it yesterday in his blog.

The other day we started seeing everyone walking, biking, running, and riding to the basilica in Mexico City. Some people walking HUNDREDS of miles carrying GIANT images of Mary.... we even got to ride with statues on the combi yesterday!

December 12th is the day that Mary appeared to Juan Diego, its the famous image of mary that we see all around.
Tiffany and I wanted to go to the basilica tomorrow... just to see what happens on "the virgin day". But because we have to skype with some people from Camino at 1 and we saw images like these on the internet... we decided it was better NOT to go!

Just for the record... I believe that Mary is an important part of history--- I mean she gave birth to Jesus! BUT.... she is not the reason for our salvation. She is not a figure to be worshiped above Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for us... for our sins. So we don't have to suffer to get to heaven....
I also want people to understand that there is a difference between US Catholicism (I know several amazing men and woman of God who are also catholic!) and Mexican Catholicism. It is almost-- you need to see it to believe it type of thing.

But anyways...
Sometimes, it hits me (at random times) just the need for Christ in this country.,... and the last few days has been one of those times.

My favorite line in Rod's last blog (And i 100% agree...) was:
It's sad.  Mexico is not reached.  Don't believe that.  Please.

Monday 10 December 2012

Some blogs you should read!

Jim posted a video about the closing ceremony-- check it out! THANKS JIM!

Rod posted a blog about the day coming up on December 12- the virgin day. It gets crazy around here. Tiff and I were just talking about how we wanted to see the basilica on that day (or brave going there on that day). Anyways... i will post more about this later but for now... read Rod's its a great post!

Headed to Tiff's house... we won't be here for christmas so today we are handing out cookies to people in the community and families in the church! =)

Sunday 9 December 2012

Ballet Folklorico

Today I had the privilege to go to Ballet Folklorico in Mexico City. It is in Bellas Artes (point number one!) and some of the very impressive outfits and dances from all across Mexico!

A must see for anyone staying in Mexico for any amount of time!

Saturday 8 December 2012

2012 Closing Ceremony

I sat down to write a blog about yesterdays festivities. But Rod, beat me too it.... so instead of reinventing the wheel.... check out his blog!

I love events. I love trying to make things creative. I could do them way more often if i had the opportunity! =)

Thanks for all your prayers for the night. It was great!

Thursday 6 December 2012

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Basketball Evangelism

Tonight was the last night (for 2012) for basketball classes. Alan is the teacher for that class and he had a one last special meeting with not just the kids-- but their parents too! 

Before every game or activity Alan read a bible verse. And then at the end of the night-- He shared a little but about the gospel, prayed with them and then we gave them books to take home (thanks to the Steeles, who I believe brought the books down, right?)

There was a dog who liked to steal the basketball AND I learned the moms are more competitive then the kiddos!

Great night--- now time to thaw!

Please be praying for the 20 people that were there tonight. Some of them may have heard the Good News for the first time!

Thank you Alan, for all your hard work!

Monday 3 December 2012

Appreciation Dinner

Last night a group of us make the journey to the other side of Mexico City for an appreciation dinner for Mexican Christian workers. I think there was  12 or 13 churches represented (and a handful of missionaries!).

We had a great time laughing, playing Rod's version of hot potato, singing christamas songs, listening to a devo, sharing a meal together, and giving thanks!!

It was refreshing seeing so many people there with a heart for sharing the gospel in Mexico City!

Here is a pic from worship (christmas song) time. I took all the pics on Rod's camera, so i don't have any!

Saturday 1 December 2012

Its a team effort

It is a team effort to get ready for a big event...  our event, next Friday!

25 wheelchairs are currently being put together by the men in the church (instead of their bible study tonight, maybe they are talking about the bible too... who knows!) and they are stacking most of them in my house! Currently 18 or 19 in my house, in various areas!
Last night the little gifts were wrapped for the kids(and adults) who get the wheelchairs. The little bags with candy, church and community center info, and a little booklet with the meaning of Christmas was done tonight....

 Games are done, classes are ready to present, art is ready to be hung (well at least mine!), teacher gifts ready.....

All that needs to be done now... making sure food gets prepared, and I want to make tags for the gifts ... not something that HAS to get done, but I want it to!
Heres what i want to do.... (of course it wont say LOVE hahah)

There are alot of elements going into next friday... Tono Munoz is giving the gospel presentation, classes are presenting, wheelchairs being handed out to another special needs school and some other people, and some art being displayed. It will be a great wrap up to the season... please be in prayer for this night!

First World Problems.

First of all... HAPPY DECEMBER! Can you believe its December? wow.

 Here is a slightly entertaining video... with a lot of truth.

 Have you ever experienced complaining about things that don't really matter? I have!
I have also seen the opposite... people without homes, food, clean water, clothing, dying...

“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13, NLT)

I thank God for all that I have... and how I have never lacked for any basic necessity. Are you thankful? 

Thursday 29 November 2012

Christmas Projects and year end giving ideas!

need some ideas for year end giving and Christmas projects that further evangelism in Mexico and all over the world...

Of course giving to my my personal mission fund is very much appreciated.
Go here...

We are in the processing of purchasing land for our church (FINALLY). We need to raise $30,000 in the next five months to purchase it.
If you are interested in giving to this project (remember to mention project number 63604)...

- hope coffee is an amazing branch of Camino Global. The proceeds go back to help build houses, get clean water to houses, put floors down, etc in Honduras. I got to visit one of the coffee bean farms when i was in Honduras in October, I also got to see first hand the work of Hope Coffee. You can buy coffee for your holiday parties or for your friends and family. Go here... and don't forget to mention in the line "how did you hear about Hope Coffee?  TINA BARHAM
Right now until December 17th-- Free Shipping on orders more than 39 dollars!

"Christmas at Camino" Every year Camino (formally CAM International) puts out a wish list in which you can give money towards different ministries around the world. Check them out... all great projects.... there is even an Ixtapaluca Project!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Wrapping everything up!

This week (and next) we are wrapping up all the fall programs at the community center.... so we have been busy getting everything together for that night!

I was going to write everything that is going to be happening in the next week and a half... but Rod beat me to it... so go check it out!

By the way we are still looking for people to come down and put together 25 wheelchairs next week, any takers?  ;)

Saturday 24 November 2012

Still Thankful!

I missed a week of the Month of Thanksgiving because I have been out of town! We went to Veracruz as a team to hang out on the beach (and even though I was a little sick during that, it was fun). Then I went to Puebla. Thursday we had a wonderful thanksgiving with the Puebla team and half of the Ixtapaluca team! Then I stayed two days to just hang out and watch Nebraska beat Iowa =)

I am thankful for many many things in my life. I am so grateful that God has given me the life I have... I am grateful for the friends, the supporters, the family that he gave me. I am thankful for all of my experiences and even all of the challenges!

Thank you Lord!

here is a view from our hotel room!

Sunday 18 November 2012

November 18-- A month of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for...

* Skype... so i can keep in touch with people.

* A wonderful community of people.

* Hope.

Saturday 17 November 2012

November 17- a month of thanksgiving

Today I Thank God for...

1. days at home alone. I love hanging out with people, I love getting to know people and doing things all the time.. but every once in a while I just need some time alone. Its also good for catching up on things!

2. waking up in the morning without an alarm clock curled up with warm blankets and my puppy!

3. Thunderstorms. I wish we had one right now!

Friday 16 November 2012

November 16-- a month of thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for...


* Everyday I get to walk outside and see the volcanoes in all their majesty!

* peace.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Wheelchairs, evanglism, earthquake, church property, the beach!

Rod, Ismael, Marta, and I went to pick up another 25 wheelchairs to give out! If you haven't heard about this ministry that I happened to kinda stumble upon a few months ago--- It is called Operation Blessing. Basically we are getting wheelchairs from them for about 12 dollars a piece, which has been primarily donated by friends we know from the States. To date we have already been able to have 2 events giving wheelchairs out (I am not sure of the exact number but i want to say between 35-40). It has given us a way to minister to new people and reach a group that is typically left out. We have also been able to get into the special ed school that is right here in our neighborhood!

December 7th, will be our 3rd (and hopefully not our last) event will wheelchairs. In combination with that is also the closing event for our community center, and an evangelistic outreach with our neighborhood. We hope to have lots of new people come for the event. Please be praying for that!

Last night Mexico experienced a 6.1 earthquake. I believe it was around 3am. I probably would have slept right through it if my dog wasn't freaking out. After she woke me it only lasted a few more seconds... but she didn't settle down for about an hour after that! Everything i read reported no major damage, thank God!

Please continue praying for our land situation. We have some land we are looking at. Please pray for wisdom of people handling the decisions and transactions! 

And finally... we are all looking forward to leaving the craziness behind for a few days to have a team retreat on the beaches of Veracruz from Monday-Thursday next week!

This is what 25 un-assembled wheelchairs looks like... who wants to come help up put everything together?

November 15- A month of Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for...

* The opportunity to wake up each morning and have another day! (even if i forget to turn ON my alarm clock and wake up late!)

* The opportunity to laugh and smile and be happy!

*  Love-- from family, friends, from God, from my dog!

November 15- A month of thanksgiving!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

November 14- A Month of Thanksgiving!

Today I want to thank GOD for...

* Creativity- I love being creative, sometimes i even crave it!

* The opportunity I have had to meet people all over the world.

* The opportunity to be educated!

P.S. Here is a great blog by my friend Chris!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

November 13-A month of Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for...

* Sleep! And the nights where I sleep so hard and wake up rested!


* Working Out-- even though everyday I hate it- I know it is good for me!

Monday 12 November 2012

November 12- A month of Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for...

1. God's protection.

2. For my visa... and that I can stay in Mexico all year!

3. For the sunset and how beautiful it is on the volcanoes!

Sunday 11 November 2012

November 11- A month of Thanksgiving

I am grateful that...

* I get to go worship at a public church with my brothers and sisters in Christ today!

*Staying young at heart! Having fun and laughing .... i hope that NEVER changes!

* Seeing a field of untouched snow and the sun glimmering on it. (i hope I get to see this when i go home in decmeber!

Saturday 10 November 2012

November 10- A month of thanksgiving!

Today, I am thankful for...

* My coffee maker. Especially on cool morning like today!

* All the wonderful places i have been with all the incredible people I have met!

* The chance to sit, read my bible while wrapped up in a blanket with my dog sitting next to me!

Friday 9 November 2012

November 9: A month of Thanksgiving!

Today I Thank God For:

* All of my supporters that make it possible to serve God in Mexico! Thank you for your faith and willingness to serve by giving!

* For the bible study Tiffany and I do in ENGLISH! There is nothing like studying the bible in your own language... maybe that will change one day!

* Mornings when the world is still a little quiet... even though i would prefer to sleep until 9! =)

Thursday 8 November 2012

Church Property?

Rod and Ismael had a meeting this morning with a lady who owns some property around here. They seemed to have left pretty encouraged about things. So, we are praying about this specific piece of land... which is connected to our neighborhood! There will be more updates as things happen BUT...

Will you pray with us?

One thing is for sure... we will need money to buy the land... and then money and people to build the building!

You can help by either...
This summer bringing a group down to help with construction! We would love to see you, I believe it is going to be a CRAZY summer... so you WILL want to be apart of it!

Or you can give money to our building fund. Go HERE! Just mention Project #63604

November 8--- A month of Thankgiving!

Today I am thankful for...

1. Seasons. Not just in nature (which I LOVE) but also in life.

2. Water. Even though I do not currently have running water in my house, I normally have an abundance of clean water (although i do buy drinking water here). Millions of people don't have this luxury!

3. Freedom of Religion. Both in the USA and the ability to speak openly about Christianity in Mexico. I know of MANY missionaries who have to tip toe around... I pray for them daily!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Mexico Prayer

A video about Mexico... from I was looking at and came across it.

A few Prayer Requests

* Tomorrow (Thurs) Rod is going to be meeting with some people about some land that we would LOVE to purchase for our church building. Read about it here!

* Please be praying for the youth girl s bible study. It is a great study for the girls but getting them to come and come on a regular basis is tough. We typically have 2-3 come but they aren't always the same 2-3! Our desire is for them to (obviously) grow in the Lord and have great discussions during that time!

* The community center... that we can figure out a way for it to be self sustaining... and someone to take it over.

*As always we can use prayer for safety and protection... for the leaders of our church here in Jesus Maria,and the ministries happening here!

Giving with a Purpose!

Every year CAM (now Camino) puts out its very own christmas list. It is things needed for the various ministries all over the world!

Want to give a gift that lasts? Think about giving someone a charitable gift... like money for kids programs, or a specific amount to help a church in honduras build a building!

Check it out here!

There is an Ixtapaluca Project... kids ministry in Mexico!

November 7- A month of Thanksgiving!

Today I would like to thank God for...

1. His will. That is greater and bigger then anything we can fathom!

2. The sunshine. We haven't seen it for a few days before today. Its so shiny and beautiful. It it always warms things up nicely and makes days better!

3. My health. I get sick sometimes, but so far i have been more than blessed to be healthy!

Tuesday 6 November 2012

My neighborhood!

I went around and took a few pictures in my neighborhood today for a project I am working on. I love projects, and with any luck this one will be pretty cool!

But here are a couple pics of around where I live in case your curious!

November 6- A month of thanksgiving

I am thankful for...

1. Being an American. I am thankful I am a citizen of a country where I can vote. I love my country (even though i don't currently live there!).

2. Jesus. I am thankful my hope is in the LORD not in the man or the outcome of the election today!

3. Driving. I miss it being here in Mexico--- but i LOVE driving when I go back to Nebraska!

4. Joy. Being joyful for what you have... for what Jesus has done for us. Joy is a choice.

Monday 5 November 2012

A little of this... A little of that.

Yesterday we had a great service at church... once a month we do an adoration service. People can sing a song, give a testimony, pray, or worship however they wish. The guys did a song.  So did some individuals and even a family. It is great that everyone can have an active part in our worship service. Then we shared the Lords Supper together!
Just wait til you see what I want to put together for next month. ;)

Today Tiff and I went all the way to the other side of Mexico City in hopes of getting visas. We knew that tiffs was ready, not so sure if mine would be. We left empty handed. But did manage drinking some tasty coffee and found PB m&m's in the metro station. Guess we will try again next week!

I am sitting in my house freezing right now (winter is apparently here). I am looking forward to our missionary team meeting on the beach in two weeks! Rumor has it they have a hot tub.... and a beach... what could be better!

Now back to gearing up for another week of community center activities and reading the stuff for tomorrows youth girls bible study!

November 5- A month of thanksgiving

I am very grateful for...

1. Change. It scares me sometimes but without it i would not be where I am today... and I would not be the person i am today either!

2. Paw Prints. I can not help but smile a little when i see them.

3. Sleep. I love sleeping. =)

Sunday 4 November 2012

November 4- A month of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for...

1. Blankets. I love when it is chilly and I can wrap up in a warm blanket! i love being under a pile of blankets, curled up and warm (and waking up without an alarm). Best feeling!

2. Encouragement. For those people who are a constant encouragement in my life...and for those moments when God allows me to be an encouragement to others.

3. Organization. I love organization and i love the ability to organize =)

Saturday 3 November 2012

Photo of the day: CHAIRS!

Today we were suppose to have a youth service project. No one showed. We should count our blessings because usually we have so many youth come we don't have enough jobs for them..

But that left Fabian, Tiffany and I (Chela and Carmen started helping too) to put the Church Logo on the chairs. It wasn't as easy as we anticipated. We got 44 out of about 120 done today. More work to be done later!

But i do like them!

Day of the Dead Part 2

Before I start-- Rod wrote a great blog about Day of the dead. Check it out. 

Last night (November 2) a group of us from church went to the city for churros and hot chocolate! mmmmm

After we left we decided to head down to the Zocolo (center of mexico city). What we didn't think of .. its day of the dead... hahaha.

We had a little shocker when we turned down the street to see probably over a million people jammed into this little street (well, its not a little street its pretty wide!) TONS of people dressed up in day of the dead/Halloween costumes.

When i think of Halloween at home i think... little kids dressing up as puppies, super heroes, princesses etc... or older people dressing up in the most creative costumes then can think of for some party.

But  here.... wow. Everyone is dressed up in the scariest costume they can possible find or make. Adults and kids alike. I think the goal is to look as dead as possible.

Let me show you....

November 3, A month of Thanksgiving!

Today I thank God for...

1. Crazy adventures and the ability to live life to the fullest. I don't think I ALWAYS do a great job of this but i love when i do-- and i love the people I get to do it with!

2. For sleep!

3. For the internet. THe ability to have all the knowledge just a click or two away. The idea that i can network and chat with anyone in the world instantly... that should blow us away!

Friday 2 November 2012

November 2- Month of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for....

* My Beloved Dog: Always there to greet me and even hug me when I come through the door, Maggie gives me so much love. I know she won't be with me forever, but I cherish the time we've spent together and the time we still have. There's nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.

* Living in Mexico: It has been a life changing experience for me. I have learned so much, and I bet I will continue to learn even more here as i go though this journey God has placed me on. I am grateful for the friendships I have acquired since being here... I am thankful for everything that God has done in me since being here... I am grateful for new experiences.

* The moon and the stars. I love nothing more then laying under them! Sometimes we can even see them from here!

Thursday 1 November 2012

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead-- one of the biggest "holidays" in Mexico! Happens between what we know of as Halloween and November 2. The day when the people who have passed away, people you love, return-- or at least their spirits apparently do.

A lot of Mexican families set up an alter to their dead relatives. On it you will see flowers... particularly Marigolds (which someone told me is suppose to help bring back the dead), different typical foods (the foods their deceased family members enjoy), water, alcohol, candles, skulls, and some pictures of the family members that are expected to come back.

All of this --- of course--- is accompanied by a big party.

At home October 31- Halloween is a secular holiday with lots of parties, cute costumes and too much candy. But here these few days are very tied to the Mexican culture with many idols being worshiped (i think this happens more in some parts of Mexico more than others)... they even get a day off!

I read on Jims blog from a few years ago that the Catholic church came out with this statement... "those who celebrate Halloween are worshiping a culture of death that is the product of a mix of pagan customs.  The worst thing is that this celebration has been identified with neo-pagans, Satanism and occult worship."

Anyways, I didn't totally get all of the ideas around this, so this year I decided to ask 4-5 families from our church what they thought. A lot of them come from families who do this yearly, and a lot of their extended families still do!

They just told me they believed it was very sad. They seperate themselves with even halloween (which is a little more like trick or treating and candy etc) because they don't want to be a part of even that. They know that their dead family members aren't coming back to eat the food.

I asked one... "if the food is still on the alter, then how do you know it has been eaten". She said that people have tried the food that has been sitting on the alter after the day and it has no taste and the glasses of water have less water. She told me ... its science... leave a glass of water out for a few days, and there will be less water in it!

As Tiffany and I walked around the neighborhood with our doggies today you could see the offering tables in peoples houses, and all the people selling incense, candles, flowers and pan de muertos (bread of the dead). We also decided to visit the cemetery... we knew what happened in the houses. It was interesting.

Here is another blog about this day...

And here are a few pics!

The flowers on sale for the graves and offerings.

 The skulls...

Incense and accessories for the tables...

A grave site...

and offering (for when they come back) in this site... juice, fruit, bread and coke

little dead girl figurines... 

bread of the dead...

an offering (i didn't take this picture, but its likethe ones i have seen)