Latest entry will always be on top.  Read to the bottom to see all the entries.
 
Parents :  remember to develop your childs photos to CD-ROM in addition to prints.  Mr. Stout has agreed to again compile photos from both CD's to a single CD and provide copies to each Mission goer at no cost to them.
 
Friday, May 12:  They are  Home Safe!
 
Thursday, May 11 (Sent Friday May 11, 10:11 AM, posted at 10:24 AM)
 
The week is coming to an end. Today was our last full day in ministry here in Mexico. What a fantastic time the team has had. 
 
The morning began with a time of prayer and small group Bible study. This has been the practice everyday.  It gives the team members a chance to express what God is doing in the hearts and minds as we work here and experience an opportunity for ministry. These daily times have led to some really good discusions.
 
We began the day working in the rain.  The team was able to buy B2B a second cement mixer. What a blessing to the ministry. With all the construction that they do, this will really help speed up the process.   Today we put both machines to work. One was was used to make cement to build up the vertical wall supports.  The other was used to pour a floor for one of the new teen homes that are being built on the compound.  Almost everybody on the team worked on these two crews.  We figured out that we poured about 60 (yes, sixty!) tons of cement.  The final touches were put on beds that we built for Bethesda, a children´s home for young ones. 
It seems that after three years of work here in Monterrey, we have left a lasting mark on the facilities at the homes and on the best.  There are construction projects that we worked on almost everyplace we go. It is my heart that there are "construction projects" left in the children´s hearts of those to whom we ministrered.
 
In the afternoon, the kids from two homes traveled to us.  We again  had a fantastic time of ministry.  Our program has proved to be very effective. The children really enjoy the puppets or "muppets" and the clowns (piasso).  Everywhere they go, the children follow the clowns.  Fuzzy, the head clown, did the Three Trees book.  The children (including ours) did not move the whole time the story was being told.  The story tells the children that God has a special plan for their lives.  This is a message of hope that we all need to hear.  Living in God´s plan for our lives is a vital part of our relationship with God.
 
The evening ended again with a Chapel time.  The group shared what the Lord did for them this week.  The was reserved as the Lord worked in during this time. 
 
We will be leaving on Friday.  One final report will be posted upon our return. Please pray for safe passage home.
 
Blessings!
John
 
Wednesday, May 10 (sent Thursday 10 AM, posted late 11:46 PM due to 3 hour weather related plane delay by poster)
 
Today was stunning.  While mush work was completed this morning, there is no doubt that the highlight was the visit to Reo.
 
The day began as the work teams completed there assignments. The bathrroms were completed with the scrapping, painting and thermoticing finished.  The Iron railing is almost done. Several beds have been made, sanded, and painted.  The Plappa cement pour was done. Way a great day of work. While the kids (and adults!) are tired, everyone hung in there and completed their work.  The temps hit 102 degrees, so we all drank a huge amount of water. The health concerns we have had have been related to a lack of water. Pray for Alex as he has a slight fever that his mom is treating with tylenol. 
 
After work, we prepared for a 45 minute trip to Reo.  Down here, if someone tells us it will take 45 minutes, that really means an hour and a half. The bus was not air conditioned, so we were all beat by the time we arrived. That was quickly forgotten as we drove into the squatters village called Reo.  There is a Mission that serves as a church there. Like all the ¨"houses", it is made of tine, cardboard, and scrap wood.  There is one outhouse for 600 people, a dirt river, and trash all over.  As we walked through the neighborhood inviting people to come to our program, they were polite and receptive.  The kids were really excited about the clowns and followed us back to the mission.  Many came in their "Sunday Best".  Clean liitle dresses were worn by girls who live in basic filth. Amazing! The people crammed into the mission. It was over 120 degrees inside the tin hut that serves as a mission, but we presented the Gospel in our normal methods of puppets, clowns, Gospel woners, and song. The people were polite and engaged. They really liked what was done, and I think they were blessed by a change from the day to day life at Reo.   We then had toys for the children and candy for everyone.  It is my hope that the hope hope of our Lord was passed to these péople who have so little in earthly things, but seem to have such a deep love of God.
 
In our Chapel time, the group expressed the very high level of impact that this chance to minister in this community. There is little doubt that serious consideration is being given by every team member, child and adult alike, to the priorities and values we hold. Americans are a blessed people.  I hope parents talk with their teen team members about this part of the trip. Pictures will help explain better than words.
 
Continue to pray for us as we complete our last day of work on Thursday.  More projects and ministry is at hand. Wow... how cool.
 
Blessings,
John

 

 

Tuesday, May 9 (received 9:07 AM, posted 6:49 PM)
 
What a great day of work and ministry! The weather is hot and sticky. My guess is that it has been in the 90´s most of the time we have been here. The team seems to play right through the temps with really hard work and then fantastic times of ministry.
 
The group broke into smaller teams today to continue yesterday´s work projects. The scrapping and painting of the bathrooms continued. They also applied the first layer of thermotech to the roof. That will keep the rain off whoever is using the facilities as it is applied over mesh screening. It looks like a white paste and does a great job in hot climates.  The metal fence team is also almost complete, although they seemed to hit some more difficult work. More beds were built for the babies home (4 and under). They are really small and cute. Today, the ones that are built will be sanded and painted.  Sixteen team member poured half of the new plappa.  This is a thatched roof meeting area with about 1000 sq ft of meeting space.  The kids did great shoveling gravel, running wheel barrels, and keeping the water buckets coming to allow a constant flow of cement for the mason we are working with each day. The four hours of work left everyone in need of a rest. Lunch is quit (um... middle schoolers quite?!) after the work time during the day.  They all hung in their and worked well beyond what they would normally be willing to do. The term and meaning of  "glory strength" comes into action.
 
In the afternoon, a very special home came to visit the compound. This home has a husband and wife that lead it. They love the Lord and train and disciple the children in their care. After we did a ministry program that inclued puppets, clowns, dance, sticks, and teaching, they sang and gave their testimonies to us. These children who have so little in earthy terms have so much more in the ways that matter. Many of our team members were stunned at their words and loving spirits. They sang us a song in Spanish, and we would sing the same song in English. It was a very special time.  Again, as in past years, this group always blesses us in very special ways. We had a meal prepared for them, and we ate together.
 
After the children from the home left, we had a swim time to cool off. Our kids and adults really appreciate that time of fun together.  We then gathered for Chapel time. Again, I can see the Lord working as the students are now standing in a tight semicircle very close to the screen. During sharing time, the many special moments were discussed. It is obvious that the team is experiencing something special as we work and minister in Mexico.
 
Please continue to pray for us. Wednesday will be a long and emotional day. We will finish our assigned work projects in the morning. Then we will get on a bus and travel to Reo. This is a small community made of boxes, tin shed pieces, and other thrown away items. It sits right on a river which is used for drying, washing, cleaning, and yes, sewage. Even though I have seen a lot of poverty in many countries, I know that this will shock me. I look forward to giving you a report on this part of the trip.
 
I want each of you to know how much we appreciate your support and prayers. Our Lord is good. The team is making difference here.  Our team members are praying for their classmates back home at CCS.
 
Blessings
 
John
 
 
Monday, May 8 (received Tuesday at 10:28 AM)
 
What a great day.  The team worked in smaller groupings on the B2B compound building a cement wall, scraping and painting a large bathroom, wire brushing and sanding a metal fence, building bunk beds for a home, laying wire reinforcment material in a cement foundation, and  cleaning and sorting a donation closet.  All the work was hot and dirty, but the work will make a huge contribution to this ministry and the children that it serves.  That part of the day lasted until about 1:00 PM.  We had lunch, a quick swim, and then loaded our team gear on a bus and headed to a children´s home that was about 40 minutes away to do a minsitry program.
 
The team had a fantastic time at this home called Del Norte. It is in the city, and is one of the better run homes.  The children responded well to the team.  They enjoyed the program and then our team played games with them.  The babies came out which gave the adult moms on our team a chance to hold and care for them.  It was really hard for the ladies to let them go. The babies cried.  It seems that the ´touch´factor is missing in their lives.  There were children still in the home that team members remember from the last two years of visiting. This meant that those children had a chance to think that someone cared enough to come back and see them.  Obviously, smiles were on both our team member´s and the reunited children´s faces.
 
We came back to another authentic Mexican meal. That was great.  We had an hour swim and then Chapel.
 
The team worked very hard.  Almost everyone was able to hang in the heat, and work the requested amount of time. Some of the smaller team members would not quit moving the wheel barrels of cement. They said, that they learned how strong they are. Real life lessons are being learned. Minds are being molded into servanthood seeking ways of thinking, and hearts are being transformed into the image of Christ. 
 
Thank you for all your support and prayers.  The Lord is allowng this team to be a blessing.
 
Blessings!
John

 

 

Sunday, May 7 (received Monday @ 10:10 AM)
 
What a great day. 
 
The team had a good night of rest after a long travel day.  We were up and having breakfast at 8:30 AM.  We had a great Spanish church service here on the compound. B2B brought abot 60 people from Reo, the poorest section of Monterrey, for the service.  Their pastor did the service and message on baptism and the importance of baptism as an outward expression of an inward commitment. The team was very moved as about ten people were baptised in the B2B pool.  The team had a chance to see to deep gratitude the people had for their relationship with the Lord.  Several of our kids had a chance to help with the service which they said was a very special experince for them.  We then had a huge cookout where we had a chance to serve them and spend time with them. Oh yes.... that included some of our team having a pool party with them. Play... the international language of joy and affection.  I know that this was a very special time for the people from Reo as it is basically a trash dump. There is near zero employment, and the the community is basically single mothers. There are very few men.  We will be going there later in the week to do a minsitry program. They told us to be prepared for 600 people which will be a huge opportunity to speak of God´s love for each of us. The team is blown away about this and really looking forward to that time on the trip.
 
After we cleaned up, we walked back over to Douglas. What a hike in the 95 degree heat! It was the monthly visitation day. This is when the parents of children in the home have a chance to come and visit. We arrived at about 3:00 in the afternoon.  There were about twenty children who did not have people come and see them. While not readily obvious, they seemed less expressive than the day before.  About half our team sat on the pavement and did arts and crafts projects with the those children.  What a neat scene to see one on one, hand-over-hand ministry.  Both the team members and the kids at the home were blessed by this time together. At 4:00 PM we had a minstry program. This included clowns, puppets, dance, sticks, and Bible object lessons. The Lord blessed this time together with ministry of encourgment to remind the children that God loves the,
 
Most of us walked back to the compound  (the clowns rode).  There was time for a quick swim and then a homemade Mexican meal. Was it good.  The kids scarfed the stuff down.  We had about an hour of free time that was followed by a chapel service.  It always blesses me how the kids praise the Lord in song when they are on mission trips.  From both this and their comments during the chapel time, it was obvious that they were moved and encouraged by the day.  The message spoke about being face to face with God as Moses was, but because we are believers, saved by God´s grace, we do not need a veil like Moses did. See the powerful verse of Scripture, II Cor. 3:16-18 that tells us that there is nothing between us and God. As He changes us, we can serve Him through the power of the Holy Spirit and the beauty of the Lord that passes through us.
 
We checked out at 10.30 PM. 
 
Please let the parents know that other than a bit of heat stress, all are well. You can be very proud of your children´s efforts. 
 
Blessings!
John
 
SATURDAY, MAY 6 (received at Sunday 9:37 AM EST)
 
The Lord is so good.  We have arrived in Mexico without any problems other than a three hour delay in Houston.  The team traveled well, and they are learning to work as a group as we had projects like moving team gear from the airport to the Back2Back compound. 
 
Once we arrived at the compound, we settled into our bunk rooms, had a short briefing on expectations that the children´s homes had of us while on their property.  We then started the mile walk to a home called Douglas.  The team did a great job playing with the children at the home after they had been given a tour of the facility.  I know from their comments that they were stunned by what they saw in the way of living conditions.  The children in the homes end up being one family living together at a standard that few Americans see.  Still, the children seem to be able to laugh and have fun.  We can be really proud of how our kids engaged almost at once with the children. This is such an important aspect of our mission.
 
We then had a huge cookout where we served the children and staff at the home. The children in the homes seldom see meet, and a cookout is an extra special treat. It came complete with nachos and watermelon. Obviously, our teens loved the food too after traveling all day.
 
The team walked back to the compound and had a team meeting which reviewed the schedule for the week, B2B expectations, and a Q&A time.  We have a great week scheduled.  Please continue to pray for us.  We have a ministry program scheduled up at Douglas on Sunday afternnon.
 
  I will try to get another undate on line Sunday night or Monday morning.
 
Blessings,
John