Sunday 14 December 2014

Coro Unido de Puebla

We are so fortunate here in Mexico to have so many talented people as missionaries. (Almost) every year for the last nine years the Vanderwerf's (Terry and Helen) have used their talents to put on the most incredible Christmas concert. 

Well over 400 singers, dancers and instrument players set the stage last night for the first of two nights of the concert. 

Not only is it a huge under taking to be able to get 400-500 people organized, but they were faced with many challenges this year along the way (robberies, issues with people not being able to show up the day of the show, etc). But, by God's grace, all obstacles were over come and the Gospel was clearly shared. 

This years theme was "un regalo de Amor"--- "A gift of love". Complete with a Christmas tree full of choir members. It was a wonderful performance to a completely packed house!

Friday 12 December 2014

Jesus Maria Closing Ceremony

Last night we had a great turnout for the community center closing ceremony last night in Jesus Maria!

We were able to recognize people that participated in all the classes we offered this fall (over 100 people came out), we ate over 300 tamales, drank delicious ponche (a christmas drink) lots of laughs and a great little devo from Jim!

Thank you for all that helped the event go off without a hitch!

December 12th... every year.

Tis the season for more than Christmas around here, it is the day that Mexican Catholics Celebrate the virgin.
Actually, the Christmas season doesn't start here until December 16th (even though the retail stores start early).

On Wednesday we seen probably a thousand people trekking to the Basilica (the meca for worshipping Mary the Guadalupe) just in the short time we were traveling to the city. Many of them carrying heavy Mary statues or wearing coordinating Mary attire. They are on foot, bike, and truck.

They spruce up the boxes that Mary is kept in all around the neighborhoods. One of my neighbors worked day in and day out to get a Mary Box made. Last night, for about a few hours around midnight, there was huge parties around the boxes that Mary is in, in each neighborhood. Fireworks (so bad that my dog was shaking uncontrollably), loud music, chanting to Mary etc.

December 12th is the day that Mary apparently appeared to Juan Diego (again and left her image on his cloak). Interested... here is the story.

Anyways, millions of people head to the Basilica to honor Mary on this day. As we were driving on Wednesday it made me sad thinking about all these people putting in so much work to worship something that they shouldn't. I have always wanted to go to the Basilica on December 12th, just to experience what happens there for myself... that will have to wait for another year.

It breaks my heart to see so many people doing something to honor and worship something that they shouldn't be. It is a great reminder to believers why Mexico is still in great need of the Gospel. It is also a great reminder to missionaries why we are here. 

I have posted about this date before... like here, for example and here!
And Rod wrote about it too.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Closing Ceremony - Las Palmas

This fall we have been teaching class in Julian and Malu's house in Palmas 1. It has been an instant success, praise the Lord! 

Last night we ended the season with certificates, a christmas message, cake, candy and way too much caffeine. 

I am thankful for the little bit i know these 25ish people (mostly kiddos) who are full of energy and curiosity! I am also thankful for all the work that Julian and Malu put in this fall in Las Palmas (they are headed home to Canada this weekend) they will definetly be missed! 

I can't wait to see what the future holds for this neighborhood, and what we can do with more space in the new community center!

December is busy!!

I can not believe how fast this fall has just flown by! It seems like just yesterday I was trying to get everything ready to start the classes and now we are in the middle of the closing ceremonies.

This fall I have found a house (with the help of Mayra) to move into. It is dual purpose. It is going to be my house, in the new neighborhood, but it will also have the new community center attached. Starting to paint and get it ready for my grand arrival in January! I am excited to be able to paint and stuff before i move all my junk into it! There is so much i COULD do to the house,... but i will stick with painting and putting in outlets! Yipee ;)

Last Sunday night was the appreciation dinner for the leaders of all the bible churches in Mexico City. It is always fun seeing friends from all over the city! We were also able to honor Rollie and JoAnn Smith who have been on the mission field for 40+ years (a good chuck of that in Mexico). They will be retiring in 2015, and will be greatly missed! (Good job on the slide show, Rod)

just for fun, the other day we went and ate lunch in the woods... and found these hats! Thanks for the photo, Rod!
(i love hanging out with this family! )

Thursday 4 December 2014

Gingerbread Houses (Casitas de Navidad)

Today was the last baking class of the year, so we went out in style---- decorating Gingerbread houses. We also had a small devotion on Jesus being a gift =)

Most turned out, some did not... but a good time was had by all!

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Tiempo de Vivir Activities

Getting ready for the next block of Community Center classes.

Wanna know what we will be up to?

In Las Palmas we will have our first full schedule of classes in our NEW community center! We are hoping a lady from Palmas will promote our stuff, we met her this summer at the soccer tournament. Besides classes we are hoping for a wheelchair outreach, easter egg hunt, and another soccer tournament this spring!

Of course, we are still having classes in Jesus Maria... 

We are also continuing classes (english and baking) in Acozac and English classes in the center of Ixtapaluca

Prayers are appreciated as we wrap up this block and get ready for the next! 

Sunday 30 November 2014

Wanna Serve This Summer?

We are looking for some amazing people who want to sacrifice their summer to come visit us for 4, 6, or 8 weeks this summer!

If you are looking to do something different and want to make an eternal impact, consider hanging out with us (or any other Camino Global field)!

If you are interested, Karin wants to talk to you!

Saturday 29 November 2014

Camino Global Team Video

Our "team" for Camino Global is so much bigger than what is happening in Ixtapaluca... take a look!

Camino Mexico!!

Just got home (last night) from a conference with all the missionaries in Camino Global.

It was a BEAUTIFUL water park with warm spring water....

the problem was that it was... cold outside!
This was the typical look of worship time....

It was a good time catching up with friends who serve all over Mexico with great teachings, fun games, lots of food and relaxation.
Please pray for all of us here in Mexico! 

Saturday 22 November 2014

What you learn at a hospital in Mexico

For the record: I was not the patient, just the person WITH the patient ;)

1.  Never, ever take for granted the technological advanced-ness that the hospitals in the States have.
There were stone age type writers, x-ray machines and ways of taking blood.

2. Sometimes you have to question if the nurse is old enough to drive let alone have gone to college to be a nurse.

3. If they take a part of you out (during surgery) they will give you that piece (as a keepsake?) after surgery.

4. Coffee. Where is it? Seriously lacking in the coffee department

5. If you take someone to the hospital, be prepared to sign a million forms. Sign that you will be responsible for meds, payment, sign a paper every time you talk to the doctors etc. I probably signed my name 100 times.

6. You have to pay a deductible before they will even do emergency surgery, and finish paying before you leave the hospital.

7. You need to keep an eye on IV's. They will run out and you need to find someone to switch it... or it will be empty for hours.

8. Sometimes you have to be willing to argue and go to the people ten times to get the care that is needed. (even when they look at you like your crazy or annoyed at you)

9. ONE person to be in the patients room at a time. They have a guard sitting at the bottom of the steps. Sometimes I was able to outsmart him, sometimes I got yelled at ;)

10. Very different sanitation rules... Clean but not as clean.... needles just in trash cans, walls scuffed up, floors needing mopped etc.

11. (observation from Jessica) Surgery rooms is not a room like in the states. There were lots of people, no prep room, and not much privacy for patient.
There is also no room for recovery. They just put you in your room!

12. Never believe what the first person says.... always ask at least three. That goes for doctors AND nurses.

13. Nurses can give meds behind the doctors back *and you will probably be thankful for that*

14. Not a super organized chart keeping system.

15. The average cost for an appendectomy in the US, $27,000 *without insurance* plus medicines
The cost for one in Ixtapaluca Mexico, $900 plus medicines

All and all, good experience at the hospital. Pretty good care, just not what you would expect in the good 'ol U S of A. But hey, can't be the price really.
Remember, just bring your own coffee.

Wednesday 19 November 2014


Thanksgiving dinner is one of the absolute best meals of the entire year. Seriously, there is turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, salads, pies.... ok ok the list goes on.

But as people sit around the house, or table smelling ALL the great food (i am pretty sure that is torture), there are other traditions... Giving thanks.
You often hear people talk about thanking God for a house, freedom, family, friends, the dog. But, it is pretty rare that we are actually giving thanks for the ONE person who actually gives us all the stuff.

I am just as guilty as the next person. I am really good about thanking God for all He has done for me, but somehow in all these things, I forget to give thanks FOR God who blesses me immensely every single day.

It probably has something to do with saying 'thanks' for things that you see is just easy.

This year, I want to reteach myself to be thankful for God.

I want to "give thank for the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever" (Psalm 106:1)
I want to give Him thanks and praise for His glorious name (1 Chronicles 29:13)
I want my hear tot leap for joy and sing songs of thanksgiving to Him (Psalm 28:7)

God loves to bless us with the things....the families, friends, house, education. But before He gave us any of the stuff we have, He gave us Himself. And so this Thanksgiving, I want to acknowledge God and praise His name.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

team meetings, big church services, and new houses

Last Friday we enjoyed some sights and sounds of Puebla with our camino team. Lots of food, presents, farris wheel and a ride in Chalo's 1922 car!

Sunday we had a circuit church service. Bible churches all over the city got together to worship and hang out together-- 400+ people! After lunch a couple of us went up to Paso de Cortes because it was a clear day and we were close! 

 And finally, we found a house to rent (for me) in Las Palmas. The entire first floor is going to be the new Tiempo de Vivir Community Center. I will move there at the beginning of January. Right now repairs are going on. You can be praying for this new place!

Thursday 13 November 2014

Back in the Wheel Chair Business!

Finally, we are receiving more wheelchairs--- 50 actually! We have been privileged to be able to aid the community in giving the gift of mobility!  Rod wrote a blog about it today, check it out!  

Please pray for us as we use these wheelchairs to share the Love of God in Ixtapaluca!

Tuesday 11 November 2014

The End of the Year is coming!

Looking to give a year end gift to something? Well, I have 
some very fabulous options for you. 

In no particular order:

1. I am trying to buy a car here in Mexico. It will allow me to get around easier, save time, be safer at night and haul around all the groups and interns that visit. Click here if you are interested in helping me with this need.

2. My personal Camino account, which helps me live day to day in Mexico. All donations are tax deductible! Click here!

3. Our community Center in Mexico is part of the Christmas at Camino Campaign. We are starting a new community center in January and will have lots of needs (sports equipment,  office supplies, etc etc). Click here. All donations are tax deductible!

Questions, send me an e-mail!

Thursday 6 November 2014

The Middle

This week marks the middle of our community center classes for this block. I can hardly believe that is half over already.

It is fun to see new people and the same faces coming to our community center in Jesus Maria, the great connections we are seeing in the new neighborhood in Las Palmas, getting to know ladies in Acozac and having the opportunity to get to work in one of the Gov't buildings in Ixtapaluca.

We have something for everyone in our classes... baking, guitar, lots of english, dance, crafts, etc. Fun for the whole family!

Please continue to pray for all the craziness happening here, we sure appreciate it!

Saturday 1 November 2014

Fair in Palmas

November 1st is the normal day when all the kiddos dress up and go door to day asking for candy, it is also the Day of the dead where people set up alters to their friends and family who have passed on.

But, since Friday is our normal day to have the kids bible club in Las Palmas, we had a little fair. Games (don't tell him i told you this, but Rod's game fish game was a huge hit) , candy, a small devotional, more candy.... =)
We had a pretty good turn out. Most of the kiddos that come to our english classes came, the normal kids club peeps, and some kiddos that we didn't know.

Good Night.