Saturday, 30 March 2019

We’re through!!!

The title says it all.

We’re through the border, at the aldergrove crossing.

See you all at LIVING HOPE in 20mins.

#lhmex2019 - Saturday, March 30

We’re at the border lineup!

At the aldergrove crossing.

#lhmex2019 - Saturday, March 30

For those following us closely, We’ve just landed!!!

Sitting on the tarmac waiting for a parking spot, I’m assuming.  

Hi from all of us!

^ the excited faces of our teams after landing.

#lhmex2019 - Saturday, March 30

We’re all currently sitting in the San Diego airport.  Flight leaves at 11:25.  Crossing the border this morning went with out any issue, other than us and our luggage walking through the rather small meta turnstile.  

See you all soon!

^ this guy is pretty excited for his first flight!

Friday, 29 March 2019

#lhmex2019 - Friday, March 29

It was another good day.

We visited an orphanage this morning.  We made the children a hot breakfast (which is a real treat for them).  While some of us cleaned up the kitchen, others went and played with a few of the children.  I'm not 100% sure what they were playing, but it looked like a lot of jumping around off the walls, balls being tossed at each other, and sometimes at the basketball net.  In the chaos, smiles and laughter abounded.

The orphanage was the last ministry stop for us, in our mission adventures.

We then returned to the base, and went for lunch (taco's AGAIN!!!), went to the local markets, and found a beach to relax on.

After our usual pattern of supper and session, we had our final fire time.  These times around the fire have been a real blessings to us leaders, as it's where we really get a chance to hear how the students are learning and growing through this trip.  This time, like the last trip in 2017, we challenged the students to read their bibles and reflect on their week for 30 minutes.  The time FLEW by, as we gathered back together, we chatted through the process and what the time meant to us.  We were reflecting mostly on how Monday morning would look, after we've experienced this amazing week.

Responses were fantastic -
- I'll let the negative comments slip.
- I'll pick up my bible more.
- I'll be more obedient.

The great part of this all, was that as they read and reflected for the 30mins, we saw that we can actually do it.

We closed our time together there, and spread out to pack up and tuck in.

We're gathering at 6.15am with Team Trinity to begin our journey home.    Would you pray for a smooth border crossing at the worlds busiest land border crossing.  Would you pray for safety as we travel.  Would you pray for a smooth and timely crossing as we enter Canada tomorrow evening.

Check back here for updates as the day goes by.

Sorry - no pictures today - I need to get to sleep. 

See you all soon!


ps.  A quick thought towards chatting with your students about the trip when you see them.

They've been in constant community since last week Thursday.  There's been very little free time, or even alone time.  We've been constantly reflecting on our experiences, and have been going from place to place to place on a constant basis.  Your children will be tired.  Exhausted.  Both physically, mentally, emotionally - and definitely spiritually.  Give your child space.  Let them know you want to hear about their experiences and see their pictures - but allow them to come to it naturally.  I assure you, they've all had AMAZING times this week, they've learnt a TON, and have all grown in their relationship with God, with their fellow students, and us leaders.  If you have any questions or concerns in the coming weeks, please contact me.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

#lhmex2019 - Thursday, March 28

Our day started with an opportunity to serve at a meal center, Padre Chava, to serve breakfast to the homeless in Tijuana.  After a brief introduction to the center, we were assigned roles alongside another group from San Fransisco.  Our roles were divided between filling plates, bring plates of food to the tables, setting the tables, handing out fruit, and cleaning up the finished plates.  Our whole team served incredibly well, especially those who had the less-than-glamorous jobs (scraping & rinsing unfinished plates & holding the towel at the entrance...).  We served 739 plates of food this morning - it was incredible to see that many needy people come through the doors (some multiple times..).  We were reminded that there is joy in serving, and being a part of the solution to the problems amongst us.

Our hearts were overjoyed as we were driven into the best taco place that Tijuana has to offer (I still have yet to catch its name...).  We enjoyed the authentic mexican flavours once again, and had the best soda that Mexico has to offer.  We went back to the base to rest up, and many of us found our beds to stretch out on, some had naps, others enjoyed an episode of 'the office', and others just starred at the ceiling.  1.30pm came quickly, as we loaded our van to go to the elderly home.

Our afternoon started at a grocery store, where we bought cookies, banana's, and juice boxes for the residents.  We were told ahead of time that this was a tough place to visit - but there wasn't really much for words that could have fully prepared us for what we experienced.  We pulled up to the home, and already our hearts sank.  As we entered the courtyard, we saw so many people in various states of health and comprehension abilities.  The reality that sits in my heart is a deep sadness for the frail human condition.  The small courtyard, which seemed smaller than it was, was filled with over 100 residents, needing various levels of attention, and more were still in their rooms.  We handed out the fruit and snacks to very eager hands.  We made balloon animals and hats, many were deeply enjoyed.  We blew bubbles, and coloured with the residents.  The time came to pack up, as visitors' hours were coming to a close.  We all left with heavy hearts, sad that this place is what it was.

Arriving back at the base, our team took some much needed time to follow up on that rest that began at noon.  Supper, then our session, then our team time around a fire.  A great close to a great & difficult day.

Tonight marks our second last night here.  We've grown to love our home here, and many of us miss our home in Abbotsford.  I think also, we are seeing that there's so much more that can be done here.  More homes to be built, more children to play with, more breakfasts to serve.


*prayer requests:
1. Tomorrow will be a simpler day, a visit to an orphanage, and a bunch of team time - hopefully a time to see our rest begin.
2. Pray for those who serve at that elderly center - may they continue to be the presence of God to those residents, His children.

*few pictures of the day:

^ Padra Chava meal center, this was us waiting for our service assignments.

^ A group shot at Padre Chava, with the coordinators, once all was said and done.

^ our iconic team shot on the steps of the Defender building at the base.

^ tacos.  *nothing more needs to be said.

^ the elderly home.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside (understandably so). 

^ I had to include this one ... here was my view at the end of our long day, before supper.  This base is AMAZING.  It honestly feels like a resort here.  A close friend of mine said it this way, "there doesn't need to be suffering in servitude."  My friend, you know who you are - you are more right than you know.  This place is very special.  I hope you all can have a chance at some point to serve here.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

#lhmex2019 - Wednesday, March 27

Input from Mitch & Alicia:

Today we started our day with devotions and preparing for our day before heading to the La Roca Ranch, the name meaning "the rock". We focused on testimonies in our life where we experienced God's grace and where we saw the Holy Spirit at work. After spending time alone praying, reflecting and writing we gathered back together and closed our morning session with encouragement for the day.

After an hour drive we arrived at the Ranch. La Roca Ranch is a recovery home for men who struggle with alcohol and drug addictions. We started with general safety rules but then, without a minute to waste, jumped right into a time of sharing testimonies. A couple of our team members shared and then we heard from the men at the Ranch how they have experienced the grace of God and got a second chance at life. Our team then got up and did a drama for the guys that we had prepared before hand and then the men got up and sang a song of praise with dancing and music.

After a time of testimonials, a bunch of us gathered around the volleyball court and setup for some games. We first started out with our students playing together on one team against a team of the Mexican men. After the first round we broke up into mixed teams and played together for 3 more hours. It was neat to play alongside the men as one unit.

Lunch was served at the lunch hall that our LH Mexico team painted in 2017. We shared stories around the table while we ate quesadillas which a couple team members helped prepare while volleyball was being played.

After lunch we spent some time hanging out with the men at the ranch and then said our goodbyes and left to return back to the base.

Our evening was filled with plenty more volley ball, building friendships and personal bible study time.

We ended the night around the fire pit hanging out and eating Pizza and Mexican snacks. As the students went to their rooms, the leaders spent some time in prayer for our students.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to be here and see God's spirit at work and appreciate all your prayers dearly.

All glory be to God!

*thanks Alicia & Mitch.

Prayer requests:

1. As our unity of teams continues to develop, would you pray for all kinds of relationships, and that the Spirit of grace and compassion would reign!
2. Our team is up early for meal service at Padre Chava - a meal center that serves upwards of 1500 people in a morning.  We're growing weary from long days, early mornings and late nights, pray for strength.

A few pictures from the day:

^ our team doing their new skit “casa se quema” (the house is on fire!).  They did great with it!!

^ the men at the ranch then performed a song for us.

^ we played volleyball for 3 hours, rotating teams, on their court that we helped repair 4 years ago. 

^ the whole gang.