Thursday, December 28, 2006

Soccer Tournament

Here are some photos of the tournament yesterday...






Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Soccer Tournament


The Youth Speed Soccer Tournament was kicked off yesterday. We have 5 teams of 5 guys. The winning team will get trophies for each guy. It was an exciting time and the guys are really into this. We'll continue the tournament today, tomorrow, and Friday. We'll finish everything off with a Championship game on Saturday afternoon and then a youth service afterward with Worship, the Word, slide show, and awards. It will be lots of fun!

Christmas

Yesterday they fixed the power by the afternoon and we woke up again this morning to the same thing. The power is low, but we still have a little.


On Sunday, Christmas Eve, Roger and Hazel arrived in the afternoon just in time to go to church with us. We had an evening service with all the churches and a lot of testimonies, songs, dramas, and a great sermon by Pastor Gollo. We had been working with the youth for about a month and a halft on a drama that they did pretty good with.



Later on that evening we went to Gena's brother's house, Hugo and Norma, to a party/pinata/dinner they were having. The food was REALLY good; a cooked potato with cheese and carne asada on it accompanied with guacamole and Mexican Salsa. Then there were tomales...really good tomales.



In the morning is when Rebecka and Luis got their bicycles. They were and still are really excited.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Our Christmas was very relaxing and we really enjoyed ourselves. We had some friends come to visit us who are staying in Mazatlan right now, Roger and Hazel Reeh, and we had a very, very nice visit. Rebecka and her cousin Luis both got bicycles and were really excited. They are already getting the hang of it really well. Luis couldn't believe it was for him, he said, "Is this really mine?" Later he told me that a bike is what he really wanted. "We would go to the store and they wouldn't buy me one, and they wouldn't buy me one, and they wouldn't buy me one, this is what I wanted." It was really cute. I'll try to have some pictures soon. We don't have much electricity right now, the town is having a "brown-out." God bless everyone!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Emma Update

Thank you for your prayers. Emma is doing a lot better. We aren't 100% sure it's a stomach infection, but she's getting better. Please continue to pray for her. Thank you.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Emma Rose


Please pray for Emma. She has a fever again. We got home from the morning service today and her temperature was 103.5. Apparently, she has an infection in her stomach.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Back in Cofradia

We arrived back in Cofradia on Wednesday afternoon. Our time in Arizona was very nice, we got to spend some time with my parents and we had an early Christmas for the girls. It's always nice to see Mom and Dad. Even our niece Trisha came down for a week to spend with us. Thank you for your prayers for a safe trip. Our email wasn't working well so I came back to A LOT of emails to sift through. I'll be working on that, plus yesterday we kinda got organized in the house, Gena put up all the lights and the tree and did a great job. I also had a worship practice to lead for Sunday. It's nice to be back.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER

Here is our latest update...


¡SALUDOS!
Greetings everyone! We pray that this letter finds you in good health and passionate about Jesus! We’re excited about the weather change here; it’s been nice and cool for a week now. No more hot and humid days and nights for a while.

FAMILY NEWS

From November 28 to December 11 we will be in Tucson, Arizona to renew visas and spend those two weeks with my parents who drove down from Washington to spend that time with us. We have all battled colds in the past couple of weeks; Rebecka is pretty much over it, and Emma is still coughing, but getting better. One of Emma’s new things is clapping while Rebecka sings. It’s very cute! Rebecka was also involved in her first parade. On November 20 (Mexican Revolution Day), she got to march around town along with her kindergarden classmates.

MINISTRY
It has been a very exciting time here in the past few months, especially with the youth. Since July, we have seen a number of students grow stronger in the Lord and new students respond to God’s call. Here are a few of the activities that we’ve had…

El RETO (The CHALLENGE).


This, by far, has been the biggest event we’ve had for the youth. It is hard to put into words the experience we had. Originally, we started this game last year because some of the youth were growing “tired” of bible study after bible study. Some even quit going to church and never really made it a priority. Last year was a fun, successful time of bringing back in the “tired” ones. This year, we did it again because of the fun we had last year and we added a few more things so it would be a great learning experience for everyone. Our primary goal was outreach; we wanted to reach out to more youth in the area, include the new students coming into Jr. High, and involve the fringe youth. We were so pleased on how this year turned out. We had 14 adults helping out with details, leading games, and serving the youth. The team leaders (students) had more exposure as leaders and more freedom to lead their teams. This was our secondary purpose…to give the student leaders experience in leading groups. It was great! They ALL did a great job and we gave them certificates of appreciation at the end. It was also great to see some of the students who weren’t designated leaders step up and be great encouragers and strengthen their teammates when times when discouragement set in. This brought together the students; they made friends and they learned how to work together. Each week we gave a devotional from Philippians and encouraged them to apply the devotionals to the challenges of that week. The team leaders had time to spend with their team talking about the devotions and encouraging their team. It was a great success and the students are already looking forward to next year. I posted a more detailed report on this event in October. You can read more or watch the video online.


VIDA Abundante (Abundant Life)
At the same time we started a Friday night Youth Meeting in our home. This is a time that we study God’s Word and are able to have a time of Worship. Many of the new students who participated in EL RETO have started to come to this meeting and it has been a wonderful fellowship time.

CRUZ AGUA (A Waterpark in La Cruz, Sinaloa)
One weekend in November we took 16 students and 3 leaders in our 15 passenger ministry van 5 hours north to a Youth Conference at a waterpark with another chruch. This was an amazing time for the students who were taught about “Living Under God’s Authority.” You can read a report about it online.

I could go on and on about what God is doing. This is a very exciting time and we are blessed to have partners like you who have joined us to be part of His work.

Please continue to pray.

SUPPORT ADDRESS
Thank you for continuing to be part of our team and supporting our ministry. If you haven’t yet joined our team of supporters, please consider joining.

· Send to:
Alternative Missions
PO Box 5835
Goodyear, AZ 85338
· Checks made out to ALTERNATIVE MISSIONS
· Send a note on a separate piece of paper indicating that it is for Cofradía Staff Members: Steve and Efigenia Silberman.
· Or, another option is sending online at:
https://www.egivingsystems.org/support/42705/
This page is found at http://www.alternativemissions.com/ under the “Donate Online” tag as you place the mouse over the “staff” heading.
· Thanks again for being part of our team!

†MANNA†
I’ve just finished reading a book in spanish called, "Seamos Personas de Influencia" by John Maxwell and Jim Dornan. I think the title in English is, "How to be an Influencial Person". In the book, I came across a quote by author and conference speaker, Richard Exley. This is what he has to say about friendship.

(translated)..."A true friend is someone who listens and understands when you express your deepest feelings. He supports you when you struggle; He corrects you, gently and with love, when you're wrong; and he forgives you when you fail. A true friend impels you to personal growth, he stretches you so you can reach your full potential. And what's most surprising is that he celebrates your successes with you as if they were his own."

May the Lord bless you all,

Steve, Geña, Rebecka and Emma Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico
Alternative Missions

Update

Thank you so much for your prayers. Emma is doing a lot better. It's Saturday night and we're half-way done with the weekend. Friday night went well; the Bible study was short because of my voice, but I think it was understandable. We talked about "Finishing the Race". We had 17 students crammed into our living room and had fun in the end with a rendition of Pictionary with everyone. Tonight's Youth Event went well also. There is a HUGE party on the other side of town with very loud music, a dance, bull-riding, and who knows what else. Only a few students showed up, but it was a very good meeting. Missionary Dave Elias preached on the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus went to visit them. In the end, everyone was prayed for. It's been nice to have a few new faces in these past couple of meetings. We're going to have an organized soccer tournament after Christmas and the guys have been practicing quite a bit out in Arrayanes; we have a speed soccer court on the church property out there. A number of new guys have been starting to come to the youth meetings as a result of the soccer tournament and it hasn't even started yet.
Pictionary at Abundant LIFE Youth Home Group
Dave preaching at the LIFE Night Youth Event
Thanks again for praying.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Emma's Progress

Thank you for your continued prayers. Emma continues with her little battle. She had a mild fever last night, but was able to sleep most of the night. Today she has had times of being alert and looking like she's getting a lot better, yet she's also had time like just about an hour ago that she looks miserable inside. We believe that it's nothing real serious, just a cold and cough that has hit her pretty hard.

Rebecka is still doing a lot better. She's pretty much over whatever she had last week.

As for myself, I've had a sore throat for a couple of days and we're coming up on a very busy weekend. I lead a Bible study tonight, tomorrow morning we have worship practice, in the afternoon we have drama practice, in the evening we have a youth event that I'll be leading worship at, but not preaching (thank you Jesus!). Then, on Sunday I'll be leading worship in both services. So, I should be pretty warn out for our trip on Monday morning. Please keep my health in prayer as well as Gena. She hasn't had any signs of being sick, pray that it stays that way.

Thank you once again for your prayers.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Update on Emma

Emma is doing much better. Last night she continued to have a high fever until 2am. Finally, it went down and she was able to rest. There were scary moments that she looked kinda delerious and didn't have any strength at all. Her crying was faint, yet she was still taking in water and had a really wet diaper in the morning. When she woke up she was alert and sitting up, even clapping to Rebecka's singing. At the moment, she is sound asleep and does not have a fever. Thank you for your prayers, please continue to pray for full recovery.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Please Pray for Emma

Emma Rose isn't doing well. Last week Rebecka had a cold and a bad cough. We were able to get some medicine for her and now she's a lot better. Now Emma has it, but worse. She has had a fever off and on all day. Gena took her to the doctor this morning while I was in a staff meeting and the doctor gave her some meds. This afternoon she had a fever of over 102 degrees. After bathing her, she's doing a little better. But please pray for her that she will recover quickly. We'll be travelling next week to the border to renew visas and travelling while you're sick isn't the funnest. Thank you!

I'll keep you posted on her progress.

November 20

November 20 is the Day of the Revolution here in Mexico. No one goes to work, no one goes to school, it's a holiday. This is the first time I've actually been interested in the morning parade. Rebecka was in it. She and her classmates marched around the town with their little trinkets. Half of the mothers were with the kindergardeners, so we didn't get a real good picture of Rebecka. But it was fun to watch her. Here are a few pics...


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ministry in Cofradia

Recently an article about the ministry in Cofradia was posted on the Alternative Missions website. It gives you some general insight of the overall ministry, a youth ministry report, a report about the indigenous work in Mojocuautla, a report of how the church in Arrayanes is doing, and an update on our new staff. Take a look...
http://www.alternativemissions.com/News/From%20the%20Field.ashx?212_na=225&p=79

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Weekend in La Cruz

We left Friday as soon as the students were let out of school and arrived in La Cruz at CRUZ AGUA (water park) in time to set up tents and get ready for the evening service. On Saturday the youth were able to play in the pool and they had a time of organized games. It was a really good time. Amber Crafton, a missionary who has just joined our staff, went with us and wrote this about the weekend...

"Friday night the speaker taught on authority and submission and the importance of submitting ourselves to the authority of anointed leaders that are over us and making sure that we are living under the covering that the Lord has provided for us both in Himself but also in the leaders he has put over us. Saturday night he spoke about the hunger that we as humans have and the importance of making sure that we satisfy our hunger in the Lord rather than in the world because to satisfy our hunger with what the world offers is to throw the inheritance that the Lord offers us in Him right into the trash, and to live a life that never finds satisfaction! The weekend ended with a time of prayer both for the pastors that were present but also for the youth that they would choose the inheritance the Lord has for them and choose to submit themselves to the authority over them so as to walk in all the promises that God has for them."

It was a great time!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Off to La Cruz, Sinaloa

I'm off to La Cruz this morning with the youth group. We'll be taking the ministry van that many of you gave donations for and we'll have 15 or 16 youth going with 3 adults...it will be loaded and we'll pull a little utility trailer for luggage. Many times the students from La Cruz have come for youth events here in Cofradia and now they have invited us. They are renting a water park for us to take over and we'll be sleeping in tents at the water park tonight. It should be a lot of fun and the youth are excited. The theme of the preaching time will be "Submission to Authority." It should be really good. We'll be back late Saturday night. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.

Day of the Dead

Yesterday, November 2, was the Day of the Dead here in Mexico. Much like Memorial Day in the states, people go and take flowers to their loved one's grave. Some people go even further with the tradition of praying for their loved ones and taking food to them. When I was in High School, we learned that some people believed that the dead returned that night to come and eat what they had given. I'm not sure if that's really what the people here believe, but I'm sure some birds had a good meal.

We went with Hugo (brother-in-law) and his wife Norma to the grave of my father-in-law to clean it and put some flowers on it. When we got there, it was already cleaned probably by other relatives. Leonardo Diaz died of prostate cancer in May of 1999, 1 1/2 years before Gena and I got married. I remember him as being a neat guy. Before I came to Cofradia more than ten years ago, he helped a lot with the construction of the mission base where we currently hold our Sunday services.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Friendship

I'm reading a book in spanish called, "Seamos Personas de Influencia" by John Maxwell and Jim Dornan. I think the title in English is, "How to be an Influencial Person". Last night I was reading and came across a quote that I would like to share. It's by author and conference speaker, Richard Exley. This is what he has to say about friendship (translated)...

"A true friend is someone who listens and understands when you express your deepest feelings. He supports you when you struggle; He corrects you, gently and with love, when you're wrong; and he forgives you when you fail. A true friend impels you to personal growth, he stretches you so you can reach your full potential. And what's most surprising is that he celebrates your successes with you as if they were his own."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Soccer Game in Ruiz

We went to Ruiz (a town about 1/2 hour away) today accompanied by a handful of the youth to watch one of the Cofradia students, Jose Angel "Chupa", play soccer for his High School. It was fun to hang out with the students. Chupa's team won, 1-0. We stayed to watch the girls play as well and they too won, 1-0.

Chupa is the player on the left in green.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

$2.88 A Gallon

Just a little intersting fact that some may be interested in.

Yesterday, we went to Tepic to do some shopping and on our way home we put gas in the truck. N$7.89 pesos a liter for the "good" stuff comes out to $2.88 a gallon. For you mathmaticians, the dollar is at 10.75 pesos (in some places). Each month on the first of the month, the price goes up .01 or .02 centavos per liter...depending on what the economy is doing.

FYI

Latest Newsletter

To check out our latest newsletter, you can click here.
http://www.alternativemissions.com/Staff/Silberman.ashx?p=86&234_na=214

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Megaphone Need

With all the youth events and activities we have been doing lately. One thing I've noticed we really need is a megaphone. If anyone has one or knows someone who does and would like to either donate it or sell it to us, we would really appreciate it...so would my voice:). Please let me know by sending a comment below with your name and I'll get ahold of you. Thanks.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cofradia Youth Pastor Prospect

I wanted to let everyone know that this young man, Julio, is genuine and I'm really excited for what God is doing in his life. He needs some financial help...here's what I've written about him.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you about one of our youth who is studying in High School at this present time. His name is Julio Hernández. His Dad, Gollo, is the Pastor here in Cofradía and he has three other brothers; two of which are studying as well. My purpose for writing is to encourage others to help Julio financially with his schooling. I believe 100% in this young man. I have written numerous times about him in Newsletters, Ministry updates, our webblog, and I have mentioned him when we have spoken at churches. He is GOLD.

His desire for the future is to finish High School, go to a Bible Institute, and come back here to Cofradía to be the Youth Pastor. I cannot express the excitement I feel for his desires. He is turning into a great, fun leader and will make an awesome Youth Pastor. I have been praying for an intern to work along side of me and he is quickly becoming that person; I wasn’t really expecting the intern to come out of Cofradía.

Julio will be studying in High School for three years and he will need $1,500 for each year, which would be $150 a month. Geña and I believe so much in this young man that we have committed to $50 a month. Would you be interested in helping with a one-time gift or monthly gifts? It would be completely tax-deductible. You can send gifts to Alternative Missions and we would be able to withdraw the money here from the account.

We appreciate your help and I know that Julio and his parents, Pastor Gollo and Mati, do as well. Please let me know if you would like to help. Below are directions for gifts.

Thank you,

Steve and Geña Silberman
Missionaries to Cofradía, Mexico
Alternative Missions
steve@alternativemissions.com
http://thesilbermans.blogspot.com/
www.alternativemissions.com

· Please send your gifts to: Alternative Missions/PO Box 5835/Goodyear, AZ 85338
· Checks made out to ALTERNATIVE MISSIONS
· Send a note on a separate piece of paper indicating that it is for Cofradía Student Scholarship: Julio
· Or, another option is sending online at:
https://www.egivingsystems.org/support/42705/
This page is found at www.alternativemissions.com under the “Donate Online” tag as you place the mouse over the “staff” heading.

THANK YOU!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Vida Abundante (Abundant Life)

Last night we had our youth group meeting "Vida Abundante" in our house. There were around 16 youth and we had a great time. We are talking about our Life's Purpose on Friday nights and last night we focused on Seeking God. We looked at King Asa's life in 2 Chronicles 14-16. He was a good King that did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. When he sought God he had success, but when he didn't seek God first, there was war. It's a good lesson for us to seek God first in all we do and he will be with us guiding our way. There will be peace.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

EL RETO (The Challenge) Video

I mentioned in the last post that you could check out the video by clicking "here." I forgot to make a link, so here it is...
www.cofradiamexico.com/Reto.wmv
Be advised that it may take a while if you have dial-up. Hope you enjoy.

THE FINAL CHALLENGE Report

We have not had a connection to the internet since Thursday. My intentions were to post this then, but something is wrong with our modem, it looks like we'll need a new one.

I don't have time right now to upload pictures, I'll try to do some later.
Here is what I was going to post...

It is hard to put into words the experience we just had with the youth. Originally, I started this game last year because some of the youth were growing “tired” of bible study after bible study. Some even quit going to church and never really made it a priority. Last year was a fun successful time of bringing back in the tired ones. This year, we did it again because of the fun we had last year and I added a few more things so it would be a great learning experience for everyone. Our primary goal was outreach; we wanted to reach out to more youth in the area, include the new students coming into Jr. High, and involve the fringe youth. I was so pleased on how this year turned out. We had 14 adults helping out with details and serving the youth. The team leaders (students) had more exposure as leaders and more freedom to lead their teams. This was our secondary purpose…to give the student leaders experience in leading groups. It was great! They ALL did a great job and we gave them certificates of appreciation at the end. It was also great to see some of the students who weren’t designated leaders step up and be great encouragers and strengthen their teammates when times were rough. This brought together the students; they made friends and they learned how to work together. Each week we gave a devotional from Philippians and encouraged them to apply the devotionals to the challenges of that week. The team leaders had time to spend with their team talking about the devotions and encouraging their team.

One of the neatest things that we saw was the development of leadership in the student leaders. They all stepped up to the plate. One of them, Julio, came out of his shell. He was a quiet shy guy until now. His desire is to become a youth pastor and let me tell you that after watching him during THE CHALLENGE, he definitely has what it takes. He lead his team and they followed him, he was goofy and everyone liked it, he corrected them and they listened, and he was a ham in the skit his team put together about Adam and Eve. What an amazing young man!

Another leader, Chuy (Julio’s older brother), is a natural leader. People follow him and he has a calm, mature way about working with people. One thing that stood out was that he came in late to take over for a different leader who wasn’t able to continue. The team was in last place the whole month (by a long ways, too) and when Chuy arrived, he kept the team alive and he was committed to them. He gave up watching one of the biggest soccer games of the year to be at the final meeting . That to most of us may not seem like a hard thing to do, but to him it was an “Abraham sacrificing Isaac” experience. Some of us may even be able to relate this to giving up watching the Super Bowl. He is a soccer fanatic, this was BIG! He showed a tremendous amount of maturity and commitment to his team and the program as a whole. WOW!


Another leader, Martin, has just come back from one year of Bible College and is a changed person. He was one of the most encouraging students playing the game. His team started a little weak, but by the end because of his leadership, his team won the game. He also brought in about 5 young guys from Arrayanes where it has been really hard to reach out to the youth. They all finished pretty excited and we took them to the beach yesterday for their prize. My prayer is that this will encourage those young guys to keep coming and be exposed more and more to the gospel to finally make a decision to serve Christ some day.

Finally, Lupita was the only female student leader we had. She did a phenomenal job taking on “the challenge” of being a leader. When I offered the position before we started the game to anyone who would come and talk to me about leading a team, she was there right away wanting to do it. I could see it in her face that she was ready! Her team was on top most of the time, but in the end they came up just short of winning the whole thing. She did a great job!

The events of the final evening consisted of a time of Praise songs, a short message about how God is the Potter and we are the clay and that He molds us through the “challenges” we face every day. Then each team presented a skit with the theme of their team name. While we were counting up all the points, Jay showed a video of THE CHALLENGE he put together special for that night. You can watch the video by clicking here. For the FINAL CHALLENGE we put together a Who Wants to be a Millionaire style game. They were to answer questions that started out easy, then got harder and harder about the Sunday sermons, different challenges they had, and a few other things that they learned in the past month. This gave the last place team an opportunity to catch up and actually win it. In the end, it had no bearing on who won; all the teams stayed in their same place and were unable to answer enough questions to pass another team.

It was a lot of work and we invested a lot of time and money into this outreach. It was a HUGE success. Thank you all for praying for and supporting this event. This has become a great tradition and they already can’t wait until we do it again…even some of the staff.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Catching Up

The past couple of days I've been catching up on some office work that I've kept to a minimal during the CHALLENGE game. We finished last Saturday and it was a huge success and a lot of fun. I'll try to have an update about it posted today or tomorrow.


Something else that we're really excited about here is that there is a Sam's Club in Tepic now. Tepic is the capital of Nayarit and just over an hour south of here. We've had a Wal Mart for a couple of years, and now we have a Sam's Club. This will be very helpful for when we have teams come because we normally shop from the Sam's Club in Mazatlan (3 hours north). This is great!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

False Christ???

I was reading my friend's blog site (see The Smith Family link to the right) this morning and came across an interesting post about some guy who calls himself Christ Jesus. The Bible says Christ will come back again. However, not the way this guy is protraying. Be advised...here's the link, http://www.cegenglish.com/.

This has got to be a joke. I don't know, but it's a good reminder of how real people can be decieved into believing something other than the Bible.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rebecka and Emma


Rebecka is still excited about her little sister Emma!

THE CHALLENGE, Week #4

Last year we had a “Fear Factor” eating contest. It wasn’t really stuff that we would consider disgusting. It was just American foods that generally Mexicans don’t like…peanut butter, Dr. Pepper, Spaghetti…generally speaking. This year we went a step past last year and really made it interesting. It was more things that Americans wouldn’t eat, but not all Mexicans would eat them either. Half of an onion, a whole fresh chile jalapeño, cow tongue, cow eyes, etc. Everything was edible, but not exactly desirable. We had a lot of fun on Saturday night and the youth loved it! However, I was feeling kind of bad about seeing some of the youth suffer…especially with the onion. That was the only one we stopped before everyone finished. This Challenge is brining in more youth and exposing them to the church. We are so excited about that and we're seeing some new students show up at the Friday Night Bible Study at our hojme. Last Friday night we had 16 total and 4 of them had never been before. We talked about God's purpose for our life and we'll continue to talk about that in the weeks to come. We also gave them little 3X5 cards to write questions on...questions about anything really, but we tried to have them focus on questions about the bible. We had some pretty interesting ones. As we talk about purpose in the weeks to come, we'll also be answering some of the questions the youth have raised. It's pretty exciting here!

Cintia is looking for small coins in a plate full of powder...she can't use her hands!

Martin, the leader of the team Creation, is trying to cool his mouth off while eating the jalapeno pepper. He got second place by one swallow.

This is a disgusting clip from a movie taken on our camera of Ruben biting the end off of the cow's tongue. His team won the cow tongue eating contest. Most everyone who ate (3 per team) the tongue said it tasted good. My personal feelings are...YUK!

Monday, September 18, 2006

THE CHALLENGE, Week #3

It was Independence Day here in Mexico so in honor of Mexico’s independence, we played war games. It was a long evening, we had too many games, but it was a lot of fun! We had 8 new students join the game, now there are 36 in total. I am amazed at how the students are able to relate this to their every day life. The devotional I gave at the beginning dealt with the Spiritual Warfare we are in as Christians. We read in Ephesians chapter 6 that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I encouraged them to remember that our struggle is not against people, but against Satan and all of his demons. That helps put things into a different perspective when people offend us or do things to us that we don’t especially like. To keep the “Philippians” theme, we finished with Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength.” So, when struggles come and when we feel discouraged, we can know that Christ is with us and he’ll give us strength.

We call the games “Challenges” because that’s what they are. The first challenge for them was to paint their face. For some, I’m sure it was a challenge and a little embarrassing, however, they did it and I was proud of them. The other challenges included a “Shout” (something traditional here in Mexico is that on September 15 at mid-night, they have what they call a “Grito” or Shout). So each team shouted and we measured the noise level with the computer to see who won. There were water balloon launching games, egg fights (with flour in them), Kangaroo wrestling and a rendition of “Gladiators” with water balloons—which turned out to be the hit challenge. We had obstacles set up at the speed soccer court and the whole team had to try and make it to the finish while another team was throwing water balloons at them. It was a lot of fun to watch! The final challenge was tug-of-war in the mud.

I met with the student leaders for dinner after all the games and talked to them about how their teams are doing. They all are encouraged and are giving it all they’ve got. One of the leaders is new because the leader of his team wasn’t able to be there this past weekend. He did a great job leading and I’m fully confident that he will continue to be a great leader in the future and even get better at it. It was neat to see how they could relate the day’s theme with their group. We sometimes have challenges when we are leading. Julio, the one who has been learning how to deal with “stinkers,” did a great job this weekend and his team had a big change of attitude because of his leadership. I was impressed with him. I am excited about the impact this game is having on our students. They are learning how to be leaders, encouragers, participants, and how to reach out to others. It is encouraging to watch. Another great thing also is that we have such a great staff that is helping. Not just the missionary staff, but staff for the game, they are locals from the church body who have been helping with the details and doing all they can to make this a success for the youth and so that God will be glorified.

I want to thank all of you who support us financially. When you give, you give to events like this that make an impact in the lives of the students. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emma is Mexican and American


We went to Tepic (the Nayarit State capital) yesterday to get Emma's registration papers. She is now officially a Mexican with dual citizenship.

Baby with Jesus

(Written Aug. 21)
Early Sunday morning, 1 1/2 month old, Moises Del Rio went to be with Jesus. Moises' parents are Manuel and Marina and they are good friends from the church body here in Cofradia. Baby Moises had an infection of some kind and died a few hours after the doctor's gave him some medicine. It seems that the family is blaming the doctors for the death. Please pray for Manuel and Marina for strength to make it through this tough, tough time.

UPDATE (9/13): Just wanted to let everyone know that Manuel and Marina are doing a lot better. They have been coming to church more regularly. Thank you all for your prayers.

And...greetings to you too, Doug. Thanks for your comment, those were very kind words. Honduras was such a fun, yet sobering experience and I'm glad I got to spend that time with you and our team. Thanks for your prayers!

THE CHALLENGE Continues…

Ok, here's the update...
(This is a long one and the blog is having picture problems again)

This last weekend was a lot of fun. This game is turning out to be exactly what it was intended…the youth reaching out to others, the student leaders learning how to lead and gaining experience, and the participants are relating the challenges within THE CHALLENGE to their daily Christian walk. Here’s what Ruben had to say during testimony time at church on Sunday; “I give thanks to God because in THE CHALLENGE I’m learning that we go through tough things in life and this past weekend we were challenged to continue on in the race, even when it gets tough. It’s helping me in my walk with God.” Another youth, Julio, who is one of the leaders of a team is learning that not everyone is excited about the things you’re excited about. He has a couple of members of his team who are being “stinkers” (a word my mom used for me when I wasn’t the easiest to handle…by the way, I seldom heard that word [ha, ha]), they don’t want to participate 100%. Julio is learning how to deal with stinkers. Please pray for him, he would like to be a youth pastor some day and I’m excited to see him grow.

I’m excited for what God is doing in the lives of the youth right now. I’m excited to see fruit from these activities. Everyone has an opportunity to learn something. There are so many things that we can learn from, we’ll be using these examples for a while.

Saturday started out with the teams all getting together and I was surprised that not one person was late. We had 7 new students, so there are 28 participants now in the four teams. At the beginning, the four teams took some time together to be encouraged by their leaders and when we all came back together; we started the main event…a race. This race was a lot like The Amazing Race, they had to go to different spots to do an activity and the first team to the final destination got lots of points and a dinner. They started at the mission base where I gave the leaders of each team an envelope giving them directions on where to go. Each team was given a different place to go, equal lengths from the base where a Challenge Staff member was waiting for them to give them another envelope. In the envelope was a question they had to answer, can you figure it out? If you add the digits of a certain two-digit number and multiply the sum by itself, you’ll get the original number with the digits reversed. What number is it? This question was in one of Pastor Marc Pearson’s Just-a-Byte emails a while ago. Click on the comment with your answer if you like.

When they got the number, and they did it quickly, they were given directions to go back to the mission base to count the bricks of the sound system closet. This, I thought, was going to be an easy one. It was about 20 minutes before one team got the right answer. One team spent an hour trying to count them. There were 577 bricks.

From there they went to our house where Geña had a white board set up and they played a form of Pictionary. Once a team guessed 5 right, they then proceeded to the baseball field on the other side of town where they were to push the Nissan (base truck) around the bases. When they were done with that, they received an envelope telling them that they needed to go (accompanied with a pastor) to Arrayanes, a town about 3 kilometers north, and go to the church there and find their team’s nametag hidden somewhere on the property. The first team to find the nametag and come to me where I was standing was the team that won. The first team finished in 1 ½ hours; the last team came in about 40 minutes after that (the team that had difficulty counting bricks).

THE BEST THING ABOUT THE EVENING was that when all the teams where there, plus the 14 staffers that helped, we all went inside the church to talk about the race. We have a thing called Filipos (Philippi). Philippi is the place where the Philippians reside. Paul wrote to the Philippians a number of encouraging things. So, when we see people doing a good job, having good sportsman’s like conduct, encouraging others, helping others, etc. we give them a “Filipos.” That is worth 10 points for their team. We all got together and I had the pastors who accompanied the teams come forward and give some encouraging words. Then I opened it up to the Challenge Staff members. We could have spent all night encouraging the students, it was great! Even some of the youth wanted to come forward and give out Filipos. It was getting late, so not everyone who wanted to share had the opportunity. But, wow! It was a great time and the youth really liked it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Quick Note

We were really busy with The Challenge last week. Last Saturday was one of the biggest challenges we had. 28 youth came out for the event and I had...and needed...14 staffers. It was a lot of fun! Today we'll be cleaning our shed a little, so I'll take the time to post about Saturday later. Keep checking for our update...

Monday, September 04, 2006

EL RETO Begins

EL RETO (THE CHALLENGE) is a game we started with the youth last year. We are doing it again this year and last Saturday was the first meeting. We will meet every Saturday of September and the youth will be challenged in many different areas; reaching out to others, having a good attitude and being a good sport. There are a lot of different games, or challenges, during the 5 weeks; physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. Each team will receive points during these challenges and the team with the most points at the end of the five weeks wins and we'll take them on an outing. This is a lot of fun and the youth are really excited about it. We had 21 youth start the game and we expect more in the coming weeks.

Last Saturday we divided everyone into four teams. The main challenge was to come up with a name for their team inspired from a Bible story, draw a picture about the story, and explain the story to everyone (at the end of the five weeks, we'll have a big youth event where each team will dramatize the story). The four teams decided on: Sembradores de Jesus (Jesus' Sowers) from the parable of the Sower; Los Primeroz (The First) from the story of Adam and Eve; Pescadores de Hombres (Fishers of Men) from the story of when Jesus calls his disciples to be "Fishers of Men"; and La Creacion (Creation) from the story of Creation. After this we had a quick little fun game just to accumulate points, and then each week we have a Final Challenge to decide which team will do some chores around the church property during the week. The team that looses that challenge has to do chores. Also, they received points for where they sat in church. One of the difficulties with the youth here in Cofradia is that they are not accustomed to sitting in the main Sunday service and usually are in the back talking the whole time. They'll recieve points for not doing that. In Arrayanes on the other hand, they are usually pretty respectful.

Next week we'll have a race for them to do and activities to do at different stations...much like the Amazing Race. It should be a lot of fun.

Here are the drawings the teams made...


Jesus' Sowers

The First

Fishers of Men

Creation

Storm Update

The storm has passed and it was nothing out of the ordinary for us. In fact, we have had less rain and less wind than normal in the past week. Last night it rained a bit and there's a cool breeze this morning, but other than that, it's been pretty hot and humid:).

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Weather

WOW! Yesterday was a warm one. Our thermometer says that it only got up to 103, but the humidity is thick around here. We have our air conditioner in our room set at a freezing 75 degrees. Last night I walked out to the kitchen to get some water and it really felt like an oven. It was hot and muggy...even at night. We are expecting some rain and wind with the storm coming. Usually this happens when we have storm-like weather. It gets really hot, then in the evening it rains. Last evening it didn't rain, right now it's 90 and humid at 10:30 am. hopefully there'll be some rain today to cool things down. The only drawback is that when the sun comes out when the ground is wet, you get....yep, more humidity! Today is the last day of August, one of the two worst months for this kind of whether. September is left, and with the things we have planned for the youth, it should be a fun month and should hopefully go by pretty quick. Blessings to all.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hurricane John

We have a storm coming our way. It looks like it will pass us by, but it should be interesting. We are about 60 miles northeast of San Blas which is up the coast from Puerto Vallarta. Check at these two sites for more information.
MSNBC
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Night of LIFE


What an awesome time! Thank you all for your prayers for last Saturday. The youth event went great! The purpose for these youth events, “Noche de ¡VIDA!” (Night of LIFE!), is to draw in youth who normally don’t attend church so they can have a chance to hear the gospel. This also provides opportunity for the regulars to invite their friends and open doors for them to share with them. We did not know how many to expect to come since it’s been a few months since we’ve had an event like this, but nearly 50 youth showed up and the atmosphere was exciting! We sang praise songs, played games, listened to the Word of God, had a time of prayer and worship, and finished up with some more praise songs. The prayer time was special because those that needed a touch from God came forward and were touched. At the end of the evening, you would have thought we were at camp all over again. Everyone left excited, motivated to serve God and ready to face the challenge of choosing LIFE as they begin the new school year.

Friday, August 25, 2006

This Week

We've been preparing for a youth event for this weekend. The theme is "Back to School" and the message will be centered around making a decision to serve Christ. "It's time to choose who we will live for" from Joshua 24:14,15. Please keep this in your prayers. I have noticed some apathy in the group since we returned from camp...especially in the past week. Pray that God will touch the hearts of those that come and that those that need to come, will come and be open to God's Word. It's interesting to see where the group is right now and the message that God put on my heart weeks ago. I expect this to be a strenghening time for the group. It should be a fun evening.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

First Day Of School!


We took Rebecka up to the Kindergarden Shool this morning for her first day of School! Yesterday was actually supposed to be her first day, but she missed it because we were involved in the funeral services for the baby who passed away. Rebecka is SO excited! She couldn't wait to go to school. She cried yesterday when we told her that she wasn't going to be able to go. She is standing in front of the school with her friends, Dani and Aylin.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Children's Team


We have a children's team from Tepic, Nayarit here right now. They are doing a great job! Last night we had a pretty good turnout and tonight we're expecting even a bigger crowd. I'm really impressed with the leadership of the team that's here. Please keep in your prayers the ministry to children.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back on the Net

Thanks to Jay TenBrink, fellow missionary here, we're back in business with the Net. A lot has happened in the past week, so I'll do my best to bring you up to date...

THE BLOG IS NOT LETTING ME UPLOAD PICTURES AT THIS MOMENT.

On August 10, Emma turned four months old. She is growing a lot and has lots of fun with her bigger sister. Rebecka has a way of making her giggle hilariously.

Last Friday and Saturday night, we reviewed the material we went over with the youth back in February for a Student Leadership Conference. Friday was more of an information day, home group style. We talked about mainly spiritual warfare and had some time of worship at the end. It was a lot of fun! On Saturday, we had a Worship Experience night. Last February we did the same thing, but I forgot to bring my camera. It was set up to have different "Worship Stations" such as a place to write a letter to God, a corner to pray and ask for forgiveness (we had a pan full of sand that they could write sin down and wipe it away with their hand, signifying it's disappearance and forgiveness), we had a play-dough section where they could create things, and we had a coloring section with crayons. It was a very creative night where the youth were able to exerience worshipping God in other ways than music.

On August 13, Rebecka had her fourth birthday. She was so excited that it was her birthday! We were able to watch a movie of her choice together and then we got a phone call from Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sheri, and cousin Trisha which she loved! We've been so busy, we haven't had a chance to make her a cake yet. Hopefully, that will be today.

As for other news, we've got some great things planned with the youth in the next couple of months. Please be praying the God would capture their hearts and they would respond. We also have some new musicians coming up to learn more instruments...that means more time dedicated to the worship as well. I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom on how to arrange my schedule so that it will not be hectic. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

News

We're still alive. We've been pretty busy with the youth and worship lately, cleaning up my office and our shed, and Rebecka's birthday. We had some internet problems as well, so as soon as they are fixed, I'll be able to update you on a few things; Rebecka, Emma, the youth, etc. Keep watch.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The TenBrink Family

Jay, Faith, Isaiah, and Elizabeth TenBrink are missionaries here in Cofradia as well. Jay has just set up a website for their family. Here's the link. For future reference, I have put a link to the right as well.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just For Fun

I was browsing my home church's site today and found an "Application to Date My Daughter" that our pastor had made for anyone who wanted to date his daughter. Keep in mind that this was made FOR FUN!!! Here's the link.

Just Relaxing



Para Jovenes

Para Jovenes is a youth meeting that means, "Just for Youth." We met last Saturday night to play outside games together, eat barbacued hot dogs, watch a video of the youth retreat in July, and the new Hillsong United DVD, "The Stand." Hillsong has made a spanish CD of the songs and it turned out very impressive. The youth were really excited to watch the DVD and learn more about the instruments they play.



The Taylors

We were able to go visit Doug and Jan Taylor in Guadalajara last week for a few days. It was great to see them again and a blessing to be with them. Their health has improved quite a bit, Doug is recovering well and they may have oportunity to go back home to Canada before they had anticipated. Then, in November, they have to be back in Guadalajara for a follow-up surgery for Doug. Jan is still struggling a bit with some health issues, but is doing very well. Thank you all for your prayers.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rebecka and Emma


Rebecka was wiping her face from the bugs that were surrounding her while she was playing in the dirt. What a Princess!!

Don't see this too often, a 3 1/2 month old saying hello...

Pictures from the Retreat


Here is the meeting place that the youth met in daily. 104 youth in total attended and most of them were really into the camp experience.


Here's the guys. There was an intersting thing that happened in the youth group. There has always been a rivalry between towns. This week was a week of reconciliation.


One of the most incredible things that happened was the last night at a worship concert, our youth filled the front row to worship God. You can see all of them here with their hands raised in Worship.


Here's the 15 youth from Cofradia, Arrayanes, Santa Fe, and Paso Real. Four towns including Cofradia were represented in our group. The van in the background is the new van we got for the ministry.