Updates from the Mexico Mission Trip

Saturday, 9:00 AM

Pastor Thomas reports the team got off okay, and that at 9 AM he received a text message from his daughter Lisa indicating they were all safely in Atlanta, the first stop.

Saturday, 12:45 PM

Pastor Thomas received a call from Mr. Wallace indicating all were on the connecting flight about to depart Atlanta bound for Mexico

Sent Sunday 9:31 AM

Saturday, April 28, 2007

 

The CCS Middle School Team has arrived in Monterrey, Mexico!

 

The team left the school at about 4 AM on Saturday morning and traveled to Reagan National Airport. The flight to Atlanta was slightly delayed, but the Atlanta Airport has a rail system that allowed us to easily make our connection in 45 minutes without having to claim and recheck our luggage thru an international terminal and reclear security again. Fantastic! I like Atlanta as a hub.

 

We arrived in Monterrey at noon their time, 1 PM our time.  It took two hours to clear immigration, load the bus and get to the compound. Once there, we grabbed a quick sandwich and within an hour of arrival had a group of children in front of us and were presenting the Gospel. This was at a scheduled pool party, picnic, and because it was raining, we ended up doing the program. I was really proud of the group as they worked through getting all the team gear unpacked and set up for the program in a very short time. We even had the clowns doing their thing.... um, Fuzzy aka Mrs. Wallace and crew.

 

We made hot dogs, nachos and water melon for the kids, and then we ate with them. They watched a movie as a group before we saw them off in their bus. Many of our students knew these kids from previous years, so it was a neat get together.

 

We had a brief time for our team to get unpacked and showered before we had a team meeting with the B2B leaders regarding health and safety issues while in Mexico. The group was pretty tired by this time, so we closed with a precious time of praise and worship and prayer. Forty-five minutes later, everyone was asleep.

 

Please pray for the team. The Lord has blessed our trip so far with safe and easy travel, and a chance to serve within an hour of reaching our destination. It is my hope and prayer that God will use us for His purposes, while He draws each team member to Himself. 

 

Our theme this week at B2B is 1 Thes 4:1:

 

Finally then, brethern, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God, that you excel still more.

 

It is our team’s prayer that we excel still more for our Lord!

 

Blessings,

John Wallace

Team Leader

 

Sent Monday, 10:14 AM

 

Sunday, April 29

 

The team had a really neat day. 

 

The morning began with going to church. This was not just any church, but was a church that was mostly Spanish with headphones for those of us that are English speakers. The Praise and Worship was neat because many of the songs we were able and encouraged to sing in English as the praise band and congregation sang in Spanish. The pastor had a message about trusting God.  The Lord really ministered to several of our group members as they realized that our Lord was the same regardless of where we were and with whom we worshiped.  The kids really picked up on this key aspect to missions and ministry.

 

The group came back to the compound about 1 PM and had a quick PB and J. We then headed to Douglas, a children’s home that is about a 20 minute walk from where we are staying.  The team was given a tour, and then we began work.  One group dug the foundation to a new plapa (a covered picnic and program area). Another group wired the rebar together that will be used for the foundation. Another hung a new fence, while the last group built picnic tables that will be sold to help support the home’s $8800 a month budget. The kids did a great job, and nobody quit until we were told it was time to come back at 5:45. We know the children at the home will be blessed by what we accomplished. We will continue the work there on Tuesday.

 

We came back to Victoria’s wonderful cooking.  Victoria is our dear friend who has cooked several meals for us over the past three trips here. She is such a blessing to us. We do our best to encourage her and let her know how mush we love and appreciate her. Her home cooked Mexican meal hit the spot!

 

The kids then had 45 minutes of pool time before a thunderstorm came down the valley. The compound is located between two huge mountain ranges. The Sierra Madre Mountains are far larger than anything on the East Coast and are stunning by any standard.

 

As always, these guys loved to sing during Praise and Worship as many had spoken about what the Lord had taught them during the day and the things that had blessed them. After that we prayed, and then the team was ready to sing! The high school students did a huge part in the Praise and Worship time by picking the theme and Bible verses that we would study together. The message was on faith. We just read nine verses the high school students picked. They then talked about the meaning of the verse and how faith is important based on that verse. They needed almost no coaching by me as we went through how faith is used in the life of the believer. It was a blessing seeing young people step up like that.

 

Continue to pray for us. We need the Lord’s strength as we work, minister, and even play. Mission trips are the time when we must find the Lord’s strength because we run out our own strength.

 

Blessings,

 

John Wallace

Team Leader

 

PS  All are well!

 

 

Sent Tuesday, 9:22 AM

 

Monday, April 30

 

It was another great day of ministry in Mexico.

 

Four years ago, the first year we were here in Mexico, one of our projects was to cut a trail through the jungle to make room for a Ropes Course. Over the last few years, Back2Back has built a wonderful course that schools and churches pay to use. The funds support a very special children’s home with about eighteen children. Yesterday, this team had a chance to use the course for about four hours doing team building and personal development challenges. The largest and highest was the leap of faith. Almost every team member climbed a huge tree to a 35 foot high perch. The task was then to jump and catch a trapeze.  I was so proud of each team member who overcame the physical challenge of climbing the tree and the fear of the leap. There was little danger with the equipment that was in place, but the mental gymnastics each team member had to go through to make the leap certainly caused them to consider their relationship and trust in God. The low elements were team building objectives which the team dealt with and worked through. What a neat group!

 

After this physical activity for four hours, the team then did a ministry program for the children of the home. The children loved the dances and Gospel wonders. Most were really focused on the message of hope story that was at the end of the program.  Several children raised their hands and accepted the Lord or rededicated themselves to Jesus. It is always a neat thing to see little kids simple faith. This is what Jesus tells us to have.

 

We then ate dinner and played with the children. Our group is very relational, and this made for great fun even with the language barrier. Playing and simple touch are huge medicine for these children who are physically taken care of, but are emotionally deprived. Simple fun and play bring huge smiles to their faces.  Because of this, leaving was hard for our team.

 

Even though the team was very tired after the two hours in the bus during the day, the strenuous rope course, and the program, the team came back to a quick shower and a wonderful evening devotion on love. Again, our group did 30 minutes of praise and worship. The kids really enjoy singing. The eighth graders lead the time of Bible study. They had prepared several verses on love- God’s love for us and how we are supposed to reflect that to others. Prayer needs were taken and we then prayed as a group as has become a very common ´practice.

 

Parents: All the team is healthy and doing great. Please do not worry.... right! Your kids are safe, learning, and growing. You should be really proud of them. Tuesday will be a very long day of work and then a program, so please pray for the team in the areas of strength, faithfulness and endurance. We will need His strength to do well.

 

Blessings from Mexico,

 

John Wallace

Team Leader

 

Sent Wednesday, 9:28 AM

 

Tuesday, May 1

 

Today was a really busy day. The heat was over 100 degrees with high humidity, but the kids worked hard and were faithful. They would not quit until time was gone or the project was done.

 

The team woke at about 7 AM, had breakfast, individual devotions, then small groups. We then walked back over to Douglas to continue many work projects. More tables were built and the foundation for the plappa was 80% dug (a three foot deep, 150 foot ditch around the base) which means the next group can come in and frame it out and do the pour. Another group continued to hang fencing, a huge job, while yet another cleaned the dining room tables and chairs with Clorox powder. It was great to leave something behind to benefit the kids in Douglas.

 

The team then did a wonderful Gospel presentation for the 70 children that call Douglas their home.  Their little eyes really light up during certain parts of the program. They really liked the clowns and Gospel wonders. It was a special time for all. We made balloon animals and had candy for every child.  The kids here do the hoarding thing because they never know when a chance for something special will come again, so they tried hopping in line several different times for candy. What we take for granted back home they find special!

 

About 6 PM we headed back to the compound for a special meal from Victoria, our very special friend and cook. Did it hit the spot! The kids love her cooking, and the adults really appreciate her extra care. We were then able to get over an hour of down time at the pool with the team really enjoying the cool water.

 

The evening devotion was done by the sixth grade students as that discussed ¨trust¨. As we have worked here, this is a theme that seems to come up at every turn as we have to trust God in so many ways. What a blessing for each team member to experience.

 

We know all is well at school, so keep praying for us as we work.

 

Blessings,

 

John

 

Sent Thursday at 9:45 AM

 

Wednesday, May 2

 

Today was a really awesome day, but one that was really tiring. The team really worked hard and stuck together.

 

We began the day with a short devotion and then went right to work pouring the second story roof of a new home for teenagers. Our group joined the B2B staff and another team that was on the compound. We hand mixed and then transported up six layers of scaffolding, buckets of cement.  The masons then took the buckets and laid the cement roof. It was three hours of really heavy duty work. Our guys really came through with pushing wheel barrels and moving buckets. Some of the larger team members ran the mixtures and hauled the buckets up the different layers of scaffolding.  It was neat to see over 50 people working as a team to make this job a reality.  The home will house eight young people that would have been released from children’s homes to the streets.  It is so great that B2B will house them and get them additional education so that the generational cycle of dependence can be broken.

 

We then had a few hours of rest before hosting a group from yet another home. About 25 children came and had a pool party and cookout with our team. Our guys did such a great job playing with the older students and holding the younger ones.  The children were precious as they not-so-subtly vied for the attention of a team member, sometimes pushing their peers aside for the attention. These children are cared for physically, but need so much more.  We also did arts and crafts with some of them. The simplest thing is fun to them.

 

We then completed the evening with a program for the children. Each program we do, we find ways to pull the children in and get them involved.

 

The evening ended with our time of sharing, Praise and Worship, and a devotion.  Tonight, Miss Tyson encouraged the youth on the team to continue there outstanding testimony as was reported to our team leadership by the other team that worked with us on the pour. Our kids had a huge impact on energy and encouragement of them as we worked together. They were blessed by how hard our team worked without complaining. What a great compliment for our group, but what a neat testimony for the Lord’s grace.

 

This will be my last email from Mexico. I will probably not have time on Friday morning to get one off, so I will complete the log upon our return.  Please pray for the team. Thursday will be a special day as we do two programs. One will be for a home and the other will be for a large group of children in a shanty town type of place that is in deep poverty. We will also be bringing treats and some food treats for them. I am really excited to see what God will do!

 

Blessings,

John Wallace

Team Leader

 

Sent Tuesday 5/8/2007 7:15 AM (after safe return--catching up on posts)

 

Thursday, May 3

 

Today was probably one of the best days of the trip for ministry and helping accomplish some of the "world view" issues that are goals for our students.

 

The day began with our normal breakfast and devotion time. This was followed by small groups to discuss the Bible study that we are doing that has been provided by B2B. I have been amazed by the insight that some of these students have into what they have been studying. The Spirit has been faithful to open their eyes to Scripture as we have worked our way through several areas of study. I really hope that the students grow through this process!

 

We then loaded the bus for two major projects. The first was a stop at a children's home that was almost two hours from the B2B compound. This home was very poor. Until recently, they even cooked their meals outside as they had no kitchen. B2B has helped improve the facilities over the last year or so, and hopes to do more as funding and teams visit. The placed smelled and several children were ill. We still did a program which the children really loved. Because of the distance from the compound, the home seldom had programs like ours. The joy on the children's faces was stunning. We then made balloons and handed out candy to the children. Ad a gift to us, the children of the home then sang us a song in Spanish. Touching! The school aged children hopped on our bus for the two mile ride to school that they normally made each day by foot.  They all stood at the foot of the stairs to the bus waving as we pulled away. For a day we made a difference in their lives. The Lord will make the real difference, and the team needs to trust that the Lord has a special plan for each of these children.

 

We then drove another 45 minutes, stopping on the way at a 7-11 (yes, even in Mexico) for a lunch and restroom break. The temperature was over 100 degrees as the sun finally broke through the clouds that had been providing relief from the heat. As we drove into an area were squatters had recently been relocated, we knew that we were definitely in a new place of ministry. Across an open field there were very small 200 square foot, unfinished cement block shells. The streets were muddy gullies with human and animal waste in the streets. The 400 people who lived in this field had been relocated to this place because they had previously lived in dangerous areas along the rivers edge. There was no electric or running water. Huge plastic containers did have drinking water, but there was no place in the homes for restrooms. The place was dirty and stank. The people had no shoes and were bare footed. The people had lived so long like this that it is doubtful that they realized their standard of living. Our team broke into two groups and then went through every home in the village asking people to attend the program and come for a meal of nachos and salsa with a fruit drink. Over 250 people made their way to an area where B2B was helping a local pastor build a church building. This was where we had a program for the children. They had not seen a program like ours before, and the smiles because of the clowns and humor were on almost ever face. God touched many hearts, including ours, as we ministered to these precious people. They all then were asked to line up for food. The people were hungry, but most were still willing to wait their turn in a serving line. We were told to turn away people who did not wait to avoid a riot. We served a huge tray of nachos and salsa and a drink to each person. Because we could not have enough to give seconds to everybody, we were instructed not to give seconds to anybody. There appears to be a fine balance in not causing resentment in the community. We were able to give several pieces of candy to every person in the village before we left. What a neat way to spend a piece of our life in ministry to these people. I know it caused our students to see the world in a different way.

 

We went back to a Vita meal. Vita has cooked for us for four years a few times each week. She makes real Mexican food that is out of this world.  We all were able to have seconds, and I know that many of us wondered about the children and people in the village. As food went into my hungry mouth, I thanked God for His provision.

 

The group then cleaned up and shopped at the compound gift store. The B2B folks had gathered items from all over Monterrey to stock the store. Proceeds went to SIMCA, the Christian school for missionary's children. Calvary Christian School has been blessed to be able to provide the books for the last three years for this school, so we were able to continue our support by buying things from the compound store. Fifteen students attend this school.

 

We had a short team meeting with B2B, and then began the process of packing.

 

We leave on Friday morning. Please continue to pray for us. The group is well, but we face a tough, long day on Friday. The Lord has been so faithful as we have worked each day for Him. We know that He will continue to be faithful by bringing us home safely.

 

Blessings,

John Wallace

Team Leader

 

 

Final Summary:

 

On Friday evening, May 4, at about 11:45 PM, the twenty members CCS Middle School Mission Team to Mexico returned to Reagan National Airport. The team had a tremendous time of ministry in children's homes in Monterrey, Mexico, as they used puppets, skits, drama, dance, and arts and crafts to minister to the needs of children who lived in the homes that were visited. The team also ministered by handing out food and doing a ministry program to the poorest of the poor in a squatters village that had no electricity or running water. As a part of a major work project on the host's compound, the team joined another group to pour the second story roof of a new teen home for children who are getting ready to leave a children's home at the age of sixteen.

 

The team would like to thank the many families at CCS who have been faithfully praying and made financial contributions that help make this trip possible. The Lord has been faithful by allowing your investment in the kingdom to accomplish His goals on this trip.