Mexico Mission Trip – Spring Break Report #2

Here is the second report from my wife Liza, one of the team leaders on Regent Christian Academy’s mission trip to Mexico during spring break:

Mexico - Hannah

Tuesday: Day #3 in Mexico: Raise the Roof!

After a great breakfast we loaded up the bus and headed to our build site. Today was roof day. With all hands on deck we lifted the roof panels up and on the house. It took a lot of man power. But we all felt great accomplishment as the last panel was put into place. Earlier in the morning the team was told about a women’s shelter that was in the area and a delegation was sent out to see if there was anything we could do to help them. They told us a few needs that they had, so a few of the ladies went to the store to get them a few items that they were in need of.

Meanwhile back on the house build the team worked hard in the heat on the roof and put walls up to divide the home into rooms. It was a hard day for a lot of the team not just with the building physically and emotionally. After a full day of building our fearless leader took the team out for ice cream. I don’t think the ice cream shop gets 28 people in at once. But the lovely lady did a fine job filling all our orders. After another amazing meal of tamales as a team we headed into a time of worship. During this time God showed up. As happens when you spend a lot of time with the same people over many days things can rise up. But God seemed to be working on the hearts of many of the team and a great time of repentance and forgiveness happened. It was a very humbling experience to watch relationships be restored and forgiveness flow. After such an emotional time for the team, it was time for bed.

Mexico - house #1Mexico - house #2

Wednesday: Day #4: Another hot day in Mexico:

Today the team was split up into 2 teams. Part of the team went to the build site to finish off the roof, put in windows and make some beds. Another small group headed over to Elia’s to bake bread. Elia is an amazing woman here in Mexico working in her community. RCA mission teams have been working and connected with her over the years. She has such an amazing heart for the lost. Every Wednesday Elia runs a VBS in the afternoon and bakes bread for all the kids that come. So we were able to be a part of the bread baking. After a couple of hours the small group headed to the store to get a few supplies needed for our house dedication. Meanwhile the team at the house build was busy working on the house.

Around 12:30 we all headed to IDT for some lunch and to get cleaned up. At around 3 we headed to Elia’s to be a part of the VBS. Elia spoke to the kids on the fruit of the spirit, and prayed for about 10 kids to accept Jesus. After, she invited our team up to say a few things and the team decided to sing a few songs with the kids. The team at first were being a bit shy but in the end pulled off 2 Spanish songs and sang 1 English song. After we took the kids outside where we did some face painting, balloon animals, hair ministry – where several of the girls combed and braided the little girls hair. The team just played and had fun with all the kids. We ended our time with the kids with a big minion piñata. I think everyone enjoyed that. After a short time of praying for a few sick people we loaded up the bus with a few extra passengers and back to IDT for dinner. Ella and her family joined us.

Dinner and dessert was amazing. The food here is incredible! After dinner we went right into worship and then Elia shared her testimony. She has such an amazing story of how God brought her to where she is. Our evening times have been amazing connecting times with those on the team and also God. After our God time many of the team hung out talking & playing basketball. And then off to bed to get rest for the next day.

Watch back for another report as their adventure continues…

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20).

Posted in mission trip | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexico Mission Trip – Spring Break Report #1

Mexico Team Day #1 bus

My wife Liza and I have been on a number of mission trips – both together and apart. When we were pastoring in Beasejour, we led a number of trips to Costa Rica. While leading the Revolution Master’s Commission at Bible Fellowship (Horizon) Church about ten years ago, we led a team together up to northern BC and the Yukon Territories. Both of us have gone on several mission trips to Mexico. Our three oldest children – Caleb, Tori and Austin – have all been on mission trips with us to Costa Rica.

One of my first mission trips to Mexico was with Regent Christian Academy during the school’s spring break back in 2002. I agreed to go on the trip as one of the leaders before finding out that my wife Liza was pregnant, and that she was due in the middle of the two weeks that we were in Mexico. I prayed the whole time I was away that our fourth child wouldn’t be born until I got back as I had been there for my other three children’s births. I’m so thankful to the Lord that she held out and Hannah wasn’t born until we returned – less than 24 hours after we returned to Canada!

And so this spring break, three of my family members are away on mission trips. My son Austin is in Uganda with a team of 12 from the school, led by our church’s pastors Craig and Shanda Millar. They are partnering together with Father’s Heart Mobility Ministry, providing wheel chairs for many needy people there. And my wife Liza and daughter Hannah are in Mexico with a team of 21 students and 7 leaders. This is Hannah’s first mission trip. After a three day bus ride along the west coast, they are now in Vincent Guerrero building a home for a poor family in the community. Here is a first hand report from my wife Liza about the past couple of days of their trip.Mexico Mission - Liza and Hannah

Sunday: Day #1 in Mexico:

So we have made it into Mexico after a day full of adventure. We headed to the Mexican border this morning only to be turned away. As that border no longer let buses go through. Handy info to have had. So we tuned around after causing a bit of commotion at the border as you well imagine trying to turn a bus around that is meant for cars. So we headed towards the Tijuana border which was a bit of a drive. And of course we started to have many on the bus in need of a bano (bathroom). So as we discussed our bathroom options we came across a lovely RV park and decided to see if they would allow a bus of 28 to use the facilities They were very welcoming and all bathroom needs were fulfilled. As the temperature started to rise we continued on our journey to the Mexican border. Spirits were high so the detour didn’t seem to affect anyone. We approached the border just after noon and had a bit of wait in a very long line of cars. When it was our turn we were asked to COMPLETELY unload the bus and walk our belonging through the border. So after some team work and heavy lifting we managed to get everyone and everything through. 

After loading up the bus again we headed to Ensenada a couple of hours away, to have a late lunch and pic up a few items needed for the week. Then as the sun was going down we headed down a very winding and bumpy road to our home away from home – IDT. As we arrived into Vincent Guerrero at 8:00 pm a stop was made at the taco stand. Where we were served some authentic Mexican tacos. They were so good. Back on the bus again and headed to our new home. We arrived in the dark and got a small tour of IDT and were assigned our rooms. We were so tired from the long day that we all pulled out our sleeping bags and headed to bed.

Monday: The House Build Begins:

After a great nice sleep, cocooned in my sleeping bag we rose to the beautiful sound of a variety of birds and no hot water. After a cold showers we had a fabulous pancake breakfast and then got all our gear together and load the bus for a short drive to our build site. As we drove down a very dusty road and headed into small community, We saw many homes pieced together by scraps of wood and plastic. As the big yellow bus pulled up in front of the build site we were greeted by the family who by the looks on their face were as excited for us to be there as we were. It took the team a bit to get organized as they looked over house plans, the supplies and also the skills of the help. The sun was shining as jobs were being handed out we started to cut wood and nail boards together in hopes that it would turn into a house. 

Mexico 4

Mexico 3

The team worked well together as many this was their first time building anything. It was amazing. We worked hard in the heat and the wind and got all four walls up and the roof framed in our first day. The enthusiasm of this team is incredible. It was amazing to see everyone just eager to learn how to hammer a nail and how to make a wall straight. Some were determined to get the nail in straight. After a long satisfying day of work we headed back to IDT for a delicious well deserved meal of rice and beans and chicken enchiladas. After dinner we had a time of worship, reflection and journal writing that was led by the students. It was wonderful to hear what God was doing in some of the students. After a eventful situation involving a shower, the tap flying off and water flooding the bathroom, we all “headed to bed” for an early night.

I’ll give you some more updates over the next few days!

Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16).

Posted in mission trip | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections with Calvin and Hobbes – Report Cards

As a parent, one of the things I tell my children is that it doesn’t matter what grades they get, as long as they try their hardest. Every student is unique and different! Some children excel at academics, but others are more artistic or athletic. So as a parent, we always encourage our kids to be the best that they can be, and not compare themselves to their peers.

How about you? Are you someone who excels academically? Or are you more artistic, athletic, or do you have skills in another area? Everyone has something they are good at!

calvin-hobbes-school-report-card-1

calvin-hobbes-school-report-card-2

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2017 Bill Waterson.

Posted in comic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Two: Faith

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Two: Faith

second-step

The First Step in our journey towards freedom, healing and restoration in our lives began thus: “We admitted we were powerless over (our sin or addiction) – that our lives had become unmanageable.” This step is so important because you cannot heal or change what you don’t acknowledge! But this is only the beginning of our journey towards transformation. This step alone will leave us empty and possibly even despairing if we don’t continue on with our pilgrimage. This brings us to the second step:

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

In step one we humbly admit, “I can’t!” But in step two, we declare by faith, “God can!” One of the things you will discover about a trap is that it is always designed to be stronger than the thing one is trapping. For example, if you want to catch a bear, the bear trap must be stronger than the bear or it will escape. Sin is the same way. The nature of addictions is such that they are greater than our ability to escape from them – and that’s exactly the way our enemy, Satan, designed it!

Have you ever noticed the crazy cycle addicted people go through? They fall into their trap of sin, feel guilty and ashamed about it, and then try to use their will power to break free from the addiction or bondage. This may last for a week or even a month or two, if the person’s will power is strong enough. But eventually, just like a dog returns to its vomit, so the fool returns to his foolishness. There is no way for us to break free from our addiction on our own! But that’s where God comes in.

The Biblical basis for this step is found in Philippians 2:13: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He has the power to save, deliver, and make us whole.

“In Step Two, we begin to reflect upon our Higher Power. We remember that God has always accomplished the impossible for His people. He has restored and redeemed people in bondage, people in fear, people in weakness, and people in great hopelessness. The principle of Step One puts us in the perfect place for Step Two – a place of powerlessness.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Are you tired of being stuck in your sin? There is a Higher Power – and His name is Jesus – and He has come to set the captives free. Jesus Himself said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Come to Jesus today and be set free!

Second Step Prayer:

“I pray for an open mind so I may come to believe in a power greater than myself. I pray for humility and the continued opportunity to increase my faith. I don’t want to be crazy any more.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

View the First Step HERE.

Chris Jordan is the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

 

Posted in Overcomers Outreach | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trafficked: My Story #BookReview #SocialJustice

traffickedIt’s ironic, isn’t it? Less than a month ago, I posted a book review for Phil Collin’s memoir Not Dead Yet, where I made the comment that I’m not really a fan of biographies. Shortly after that, I was grocery shopping with my wife at Costco when I came across the book Trafficked: My Story by Sophie Hayes. The book is the true story of a British girl far away from home who is sold into prostitution.

From the acknowledgements at the beginning of her book, she writes: “Everyone deserves freedom and basic human rights, and although he stole my freedom, I am going to do everything in my power to fight back and make a difference.” Me too!

What follows are some of the quotes from this book to open your eyes a little bit to the dark world of human trafficking. My hope and prayer is that it will motivate and inspire you to get involved and refuse to do nothing!

“What Kas did to me opened my eyes to the terrible things some people are capable of doing to others. Working with STOP THE TRAFFIK is helping me to make something positive out of what I’d thought was a totally and irretrievably negative experience, and I want to use that experience to try to help other people who haven’t been as fortunate as, ultimately, I was and to help raise awareness about people trafficking.”

“It’s easy to dismiss girls who work on the streets as deadbeats or drug addicts without ever thinking about why they’re working as prostitutes. And the truth is that many of them have been trafficked and they work long, exhausting, miserable, soul-destroying hours for men who are cruel and violent. They’re constantly afraid, not just because of what might be done to them if they don’t do what they’re told, but also because of the very real threats that are made against their families and the people they love.”

“A Note from Robin: I believe strongly that the more publicity there is about trafficking and the more knowledge people have about it, the better equipped we’ll be to fight it. Anything that results in just one extra person being rescued from repeated beatings and rape is worthwhile, which is why I was so pleased to know that Sophie is trying to create something positive out of her own horrendous experience by working with STOP THE TRAFFIK and by writing a book about her ordeal. (Robin is a Detective Constable working for the UK Sexual Crime Unit).”

“Stop the Traffik: Men, women and children are being exploited by force or by trickery all around the world. They are victims of human trafficking, a global crime by means of which criminals earn vast amounts of money from abusing the human rights of vulnerable individuals… The International Labour Organization estimates that there are at least 12.3 million people in forced labour worldwide… approximately 2.5 million are victims of human trafficking and half are under the age of eighteen.”

For more info:

 

OTHER JUSTICE POSTS ON THIS BLOG:

Posted in book review, justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Revolution – #Sermon Notes

REVOLUTION: OPEN YOUR HEART, OPEN YOUR BIBLE, AND OPEN YOUR LIFE!

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Horizon Church)

slide1

This is an outline of the sermon notes from a message I shared with our church family a couple of weeks ago. You can listen to or download the audio MP3 HERE.

INTRO TO SPEAKER: Family of 5 living in a two-bedroom basement suite right now, still praying for our house to sell in Manitoba.

INTRO TO TOPIC:

Last week Pastor Craig told the story of God bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt.

  • Caleb said, “We are WELL able”, but the other 10 spies said, “We are NOT able!”
  • Because they listened to the 10 spies, it took 40 years to make an 11 day journey!
  • We need to change our thinking if we want to change our lives! That’s a revolution!

IT’S TIME FOR A REVOLUTION: REVOLUTION DEFINED:

slide2

  • What’s a revolution? This is a picture of what God wants to have happen in our lives.
  • Radical: a sudden or radical and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.
  • Do you want to stay the same? Are you content with where you’re at?

PREPARING TO ENTER THE PROMISED LAND:

1 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. 2 So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; 3 and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:1-5).

  • We are at a place where God wants to get us ready to cross over into our Promised Land!
  • Sanctify/Consecrate: Hebrew Qadash: to be set apart or made holy.
  • God wants to do wonders in our lives, but first we must allow God to do His work in us.
  • How do we ensure our thoughts are shaped by God and not our circumstances?

HOW DO WE CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK?

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” (2 Cor. 10:4).

  • Weapon – Greek hoplon – any tool or implement for preparing a thing.

THE BIG IDEA: God has given us three tools or keys to experiencing a revolution in our lives. We need to open our heart, open our Bible, and open our lives.

THE TOOLS WE USE TO PREPARE OURSELVES:

1. OPEN YOUR HEART (PRAYER):

“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord… go after it… that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:3-4).

  • If we’re going to enter our Promised Land, we need to follow the Good Shepherd!
  • Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27).
  • We need to see and hear what He’s saying. HEARING GOD SEMINAR!

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6).

  • It’s time to get alone until we’re not alone anymore, until God’s presence shows up!
  • “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” (Exodus 33:11).

TESTIMONY: This morning Liza was praying for me for my message.

Explosion of Scriptures and I heard Jesus say, “Tell my people I still answer prayers.” I said, “They know that, Lord!” He said, “If they believed it, they would pray more than they do.”

  • QUOTE: Mark 11:24; Matthew 18:19; Ephesians 3:20.
  • CHURCH: LET’S PRAY! Pray for your growth, your family, finances, church, pastor!

2. OPEN YOUR BIBLE (THE WORD):

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you… This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:7-8).

  • It’s not good enough to just read the Bible, we need to meditate on it!
  • Personal testimony: Memorizing the Scriptures changed the way I saw myself!

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2).

  • This is one of the best ways to change our thinking to change our lives!
  • Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).
  • More often, freedom comes from a truth encounter than a power encounter.
  • Quote: Romans 10:17; Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119:9.
  • The Bible will build your faith, help you resist temptation, and grow in the Lord!

3. OPEN YOUR LIFE (COMMUNITY / CONNECTION):

“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.” (Joshua 1:1-2).

  • ALL the people, not just the leaders or the brave. It’s about community and connection.

“God sets the solitary in families.” (Psalm 68:6).

  • God has put us together as a family in the church!

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25, NLT).

  • Church isn’t just about worship and discipleship, it’s about fellowship, too!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT).

  • We need to start being open and honest with our struggles and helping each other.
  • “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” (Thomas Merton).

IT’S TIME FOR A REVOLUTION: ANOTHER DEFINITION:

  • What’s a revolution? This is a picture of what God wants to have happen in our lives.
  • Closer: the action by a celestial body of going round in an orbit or elliptical course, as in “the revolution of the earth about the sun takes one year.”

LESSONS FROM THE PLANETS:

  1. It takes the Earth 365 days to orbit around the sun (Earth = about 150 million km away)
  2. Mercury only requires 88 days to orbit around the sun (about 58 million km away)
  • Mercury’s temperature can reach up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit (it’s HOT!)
  1. Pluto requires 258 years to orbit the sun! (about 6 billion km away)
  • Pluto’s temperature reaches a frozen -396 F
  • when we orbit away from God, it takes us longer to do things for Him, we become cold

We need a CLOSER REVOLUTION – like Mercury around the sun (then we’ll be HOT!)

CLOSING CHALLENGE: How’s your orbit? Are you in close revolution around the Son?

  • How’s your passion for God, and your love for Him?
  • Some of you have been knocked out of your orbit because of life’s circumstances.
  • Some of you maybe you saw something ‘attractive’ and abandoned orbit around Jesus
  • It’s time to return to a closer revolution of orbiting our lives around the Son, Jesus!
  • Open your heart (prayer), open your Bible, and open your lives (in fellowship)!

PRAYER!

Posted in Sermon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reflections with Calvin & Hobbes – Hope and Dreams

One of the perks of working in a Christian school is our staff devotions in the morning before the school day starts. This morning, one of our teachers shared with us the story of Joseph. He was a dreamer who God had called to be a leader, but from the time the Lord gave Him the dream until the time it came to pass, he went through some very trying and difficult times.

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery. He was lied about, his name was slandered, and he was  thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Yet, through it all, he maintained his integrity, and in God’s timing, the dream was fulfilled. He became a great leader in the nation of Egypt, and through his wisdom, many lives were saved.

Although I had heard this story many times before, I found great encouragement from it today.

In September this past year, we moved our family back to Surrey, BC. We put our house on the market back in Manitoba, and – over five months later – our home still hasn’t sold yet. So that means we are still making mortgage and utilities payments on our house back in Beausejour, as well as paying rent in a tiny little basement suite here.

The two-bedroom basement suite where our family of five is currently living.

Together. Close. Crowded. Cozy. Cramped.

Half of our stuff is still in storage, so we haven’t fully settled yet.

And so we wait.

But in the waiting, I am encouraged today by this Scripture: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

I don’t know why our house in Manitoba hasn’t sold yet.

But I choose to trust that God is good.

And I’m working on believing that His timing is perfect.

“So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.” (Casting Crowns).

Calvin & Hobbes - epic life change the world

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2017 Bill Waterson.

Posted in comic | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments