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!


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


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!


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


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:).